Burma: military coup does not deter Japanese companies

Brewer Kirin is the only Japanese company to have reacted since the coup in Burma, breaking with a conglomerate linked to the military.


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3 min

The military coup in Burma fails to deter hundreds of Japanese companies from giving up investing in one of Asia's last remaining high growth frontier markets.

Very present in the country where they have invested heavily since the outline of democratization in 2011, they maintain their activities despite the demonstrations and the civil disobedience movement.


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Brewer Kirin, says 

our correspondent in Tokyo,

Frédéric Charles

, is the only Japanese group to have reacted since the

February 1 coup 

in Burma.

He broke a partnership with a conglomerate linked to the Burmese military, but he did not withdraw from Burma and its beer market.

Kirin had been under UN pressure since the genocide of the Muslim minority by the Burmese army and police.

A UN investigation had proven that part of the revenues Kirin paid to the conglomerate was used to finance military operations.

A market of 54 million consumers

For Japanese companies, Burma is a market of 54 million consumers.

And the majority of them do not deal with the military.

In any case, not directly.

The big Japanese trading houses invest in raw materials, infrastructure.

Groups like Toyota, Sumitomo, KDDI, Suzuki Motor are present in the automobile, food products, clothing, telecoms.

The Daiwa securities house participated in the creation of the first stock exchange in Yangon.

Over the past ten years, Japan has granted 10 billion dollars in loans to Burma, its companies have invested two billion dollars.

The fear of China

Japan fears that international sanctions could push Burma to

move a little closer to China


And strengthens Beijing's influence in the East China Sea and the Indian Ocean.

But, for the activist Thet Swe Win, director of the NGO Synergy, a firmer international response to the putsch is necessary, and must precisely target the industrial sector: “

 We must also target companies controlled by the army.

If we really want to put the army under pressure, we must also put more pressure on foreign investors, such as Singapore, China, Japan or even Korea, who have invested heavily in the country



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  • Japan

  • Burma

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