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Japanese editorial excerpts -3-.

TOKYO, Feb. 9 Kyodo

Selected editorial excerpts from the Japanese press:

MYANMAR'S PARLIAMENT (IHT/Asahi as translated from the Japanese-language Asahi Shimbun's editorial published Feb. 8)

The newly inaugurated parliament of Myanmar (Burma) convened last week in the gleaming new capital city of Naypyidaw. The event marked the official opening of the massive parliament building.

There was nothing to indicate that the nation had moved any closer to democracy.

The military regime's former prime minister, Thein Sein, was named president by the new parliament. A new Cabinet will be formed soon, which the military regime claims will spell a ''transition to democratic rule.''

An elected administration sounds a lot better than a regime without a Constitution or parliament. But in reality, one-quarter of the seats of the new parliament are reserved for military officers.

The support of more than three-quarters of the parliament is needed to amend the current Constitution, which was instituted by the military junta three years ago. It seems that the new administration is designed to legalize and perpetuate oppressive rule.

Senior General Than Shwe, chairman of the State Peace and Development Council, was not named president.

However, Thein Sein is Mynamar's fourth highest ranked military official. As Than Shwe's loyal lieutenant, he was the face of the junta.

In Myanmar, the commander of the armed forces holds greater power than the president.

Nothing will change if Than Shwe is reappointed.

If the new administration is aiming at democratic rule, it must show its sincerity at home as well as abroad.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations has demanded that the United States and European countries lift their economic sanctions against Myanmar, on the grounds that Myanmar has held national elections and released democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest.

The Japanese government, too, acknowledges ''some credit'' is due to Myanmar for Suu Kyi's release. But it is still too soon for Japan to demand the lifting of the sanctions. Japan must await specific actions by the new administration.

The new regime must also immediately free political prisoners. There are estimated to be around 2,000 people held for political reasons. The Japanese government must patiently work with neighboring nations to pressure the new administration to take those steps.

(Feb. 9)
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Article Details
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Publication:Asian Political News
Article Type:Editorial
Geographic Code:9MYAN
Date:Feb 14, 2011
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