HRN submits joint letter to UN body about the risk of the Japanese government and companies supporting Myanmar’s abusive military

HRN, along with four other organizations, has made a joint submission to the UN Working Group on Business and Human rights providing information about the involvement of Japanese public and private businesses in Myanmar which is likely to benefit the Myanmar military. The information supports the Working Group in investigating and recommending that the Japanese government and involved companies cease and prevent any risk of supporting Myanmar’s abusive military until it ends its political control over Myanmar and is brought under civilian control.

The text of the joint letter is below, and it is available along with all of the supporting information contained in appendixes in pdf format from the following link: Joint Submission to Mr. Pesce Feb 2021.pdf

February 17, 2021

Mr. Dante Pesce
Working Group on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
CH-1211 Geneva 10

RE: Submission by Civil Society Organizations concerning Japanese Business Entities Operating in Myanmar

Dear Mr. Pesce,

We, the undersigned civil society groups, respectfully request that the UN Working Group on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises undertake an inquiry into the business operations of Japanese business entities involved in Y Complex, a high-end commercial development project situated in Yangon, Myanmar.

Specifically, we urge you to investigate whether Japanese business ties are financing and creating immoveable assets for Myanmar’s military, which has long been implicated in crimes against humanity in Rakhine State and other grave international crimes in ethnic areas throughout Myanmar. The military on February 1, 2021, deposed the duly elected government led by the National League for Democracy (NLD), which won the November 2020 elections by a large margin. The military detained and charged President Win Myint, State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, and other NLD party officials and civil society activists.

We have outlined our research into Japanese companies’ involvement in developing Y Complex in Appendix I, providing other relevant documentation in appendices II to XII [available in the pdf linked above].

We hope the information enclosed provides sufficient basis for the Working Group to initiate an investigation and issue a report recommending the steps that the Japanese government and the companies involved need to take to cease, prevent, mitigate, and remediate the risks involved of supporting Myanmar’s abusive military. We believe this should include halting of the project until the military ends its controlling role in Myanmar’s economic and political spheres, and the military is brought under civilian control.

We would welcome an opportunity to brief you further to enable your investigation. Please contact us via Teppei Kasai of Human Rights Watch.

Thank you for your consideration regarding this important matter.


Human Rights Now
Human Rights Watch
Japan International Volunteer Center
Justice For Myanmar
Mekong Watch