TOKYO (Reuters) – Human rights groups on Thursday called on Japan to cancel a real estate project involving Myanmar’s defense ministry, saying the project is linked to the military, which has carried out a deadly crackdown since coup of February 1.

Japanese private companies and a public entity are engaged in a multi-million dollar hotel and office development on land owned by Myanmar’s Defense Ministry, Reuters reported earlier.

Rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, said that Japan did not assessed the risk associated with doing business in Myanmar.

“We strongly condemn the fact that Japan’s public funds probably ended up in the hands of the Tatmadaw,” said Yuka Kiguchi, executive director of Mekong Watch, referring to the Myanmar armed forces.

Through the payment of rents, the Y-complex project benefits Myanmar’s defense ministry, which is controlled by the military under the country’s constitution, according to the groups.

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A Japanese company and government officials said they believed the rent, which was paid through an intermediary, ultimately went to the Myanmar government, not the military.

(Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Gerry Doyle)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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