Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada urged Myanmar Sunday to release democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi and to hold a fair election, the Japanese foreign ministry said.
Okada told Myanmar Foreign Minister Nyan Win more aid could be available if a free election were held, during a 20-minute discussion on the sidelines of a gathering of foreign ministers from Asia and Latin America.
Okada reiterated Japan’s hopes for the release of Suu Kyi and other political prisoners before the election, for which the schedule is yet to be set, the Japanese foreign ministry said.
Nyan Win said the elections will be open to all parties and people and expected Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy to take part, the ministry said.
Myanmar’s military rulers have kept the Nobel peace laureate in detention for 14 of the last 20 years, having refused to recognize her party’s landslide victory in the country’s last democratic elections in 1990.
Japan has maintained trade and dialogue with Myanmar, warning a hard line on the military junta could push it closer to neighboring China, its main political supporter and commercial partner.