Myanmar junta extends state of emergency

AFP
A Japanese man has been detained in Myanmar’s commercial capital Yangon, an official at Japan’s embassy confirmed on Sunday, the latest foreigner ensnared in the junta-ruled nation.

A military coup last year sparked rolling protests and a deadly response from the junta, with more than 2,000 people killed and at least 14,000 arrested, according to a local monitoring group.

On Saturday, Japanese and local media said filmmaker Toru Kubota, 26, was detained near an anti-government rally along with two Myanmar citizens.

“I can confirm a Japanese national was detained yesterday in Yangon,” an official at the Japanese embassy told AFP on Sunday, requesting anonymity.

The embassy is “in contact with the authorities and taking measures to secure their release.”

The Japanese official, who did not confirm the identity of the detained individual, said they had no information on whether he was arrested during a protest.
Last year, it cancelled the results of the polls, saying it had uncovered more than 11 million instances of voter fraud.

International observers said the voting was largely free and fair.

Suu Kyi has been detained since the coup and faces an eclectic raft of charges that could see her jailed for more than 150 years.

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In a speech broadcast on Monday, Min Aung Hlaing did not mention a date for fresh polls but said they could only be held when the country was “peaceful and stable”.

He also said “reform” to the country’s electoral system was needed, including combining the first-past-the-post system — under which Suu Kyi’s NLD has won sweeping majorities — with proportional representation.

The influence of “powerful parties” had previously stifled other political voices in the country, he said.

The junta chief also invited the leaders of a number of the country’s established ethnic rebel groups for a second round of face-to-face meetings.

Myanmar has about 20 ethnic rebel armies — many of which control swathes of remote border territory, and have fought each other and the military for decades.

Some have condemned the coup and offered shelter and weapons training to the “People’s Defence Forces” (PDFs) that have sprung up since the putsch, and which analysts say have surprised the military with their effectiveness.

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Several ethnic rebel groups attended a first round of “peace talks” with the junta in May, although groups fighting alongside anti-junta rebels stayed away.