Despite distancing itself from other major Western states imposing sanctions on military-linked individuals and entities, Japan has joined other G7 economies in condemning the coup and the Myanmar security forces’ use of violence against peaceful protests.
Japan is a long-time investor and partner of Myanmar with several major companies having invested in the country.
But some of these investments have come under scrutiny from activist groups following the seize of power by the military.
The latest target is the real-estate project know as “Y Complex”. As reported by Mekong Watch, the Y Complex is a development project to build and operate a large-scale real estate area of a total floor area of over 92,000 m2 comprising offices, stores, hotels, serviced apartments as well as a military museum. Construction started in August 2018, and is scheduled to be completed in 2021.
The total project cost is planned to be about USD 330 million, of which about 80% is said to be invested by Japanese public funds and private sector entities. Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Tokyo Stock Exchange-listed Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), Mizuho Bank and Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment (JOIN) are all involved through loans, credit or debt guarantees, or equity.
The issue is that the land is owned by the Myanmar Armed Forces and therefore the land rent, over USD 2 million per year, is paid to a proxy company directly linked to the military according to Justice for Myanmar with “no civilian oversight.”