Japan offers $5m for refugee resettlement in Myanmar’s Kachin

The Japanese government announced in late December that it will launch an aid program to help internally displaced people in a conflict zone in Myanmar’s northern state of Kachin to return home.

China has strong influence in northern Myanmar, including Kachin. Countrywide, Japan and China are tussling for diplomatic sway by helping with various infrastructure projects. Their rivalry is now spilling over into Myanmar’s sensitive internal ethnic conflicts.

The Japanese program aims to assist people displaced by Kachin’s decadeslong ethnic conflict, and is due to begin in the first half of 2020.

The Japanese government, together with the nonprofit Nippon Foundation, will contribute $5 million to help 3,000 people return to their villages who were forced to flee due to fighting between Myanmar troops and the rebel Kachin Independent Army.

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Yuichi Nitta