Japan wants start of Rohingya repatriation process next year: Naoki

Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ito Naoki on Thursday said his country supports the repatriation of Rohingyas to their homes in Rakhine State and wants to see the process start next year.

“Rohingya is a very important issue. To see progress, we should see the start of the repatriation process in 2021. Japan will continue to help,” he told diplomatic correspondents at DCAB Talk at the Jatiya Press Club.

The Ambassador said Japan will continue to cooperate with the government of Bangladesh and will spare no efforts to see a lasting solution to the Rohingya crisis.

Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) hosted the DCAB Talk with its President Angur Nahar Monty in the chair. DCAB General Secretary Touhidur Rahman also spoke.

Asked about Japan’s role in the UN forum, the ambassador said they are communicating directly with Myanmar’s top military officials and at the government level on the Rohingya crisis as Japan sees it a proper channel to play a role.

He said Japan has a strong connection with the highest level of Myanmar military as well as the civilian government. “Japan is communicating directly on what Myanmar could do and what Myanmar should do in terms of addressing accountability as well as focusing the repatriation process. I think there, Japan can play a role.”

He said there may be some critical views in international arena but it needs to be looked at what Japan can do through this channel and through this communication at the very top level of the government as well as the military.

The Ambassador said this is the role Japan can play and will continue to play knowing that seeing some progress on accountability and early start of the process of repatriation is very important.

Asked about Japan’s investment in Myanmar, Ambassador Naoki said Japan is part of Asia and Myanmar is also part of Asia. “Like Bangladesh, Myanmar is also traditionally a very friendly country to Japan. So, there’s a good reason for us to continue making investment in a country which is under the process of democratisation.”

Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas who fled their homeland in Rakhine State after being persecuted by their own country.

Myanmar did not take back a single Rohingya from Bangladesh over the last two years but Myanmar, in its attempts to “mislead” the international community, claimed that a total of 397 displaced people had voluntarily returned from Bangladesh to Myanmar.

Two repatriation attempts turned futile as Myanmar “failed to remove trust deficit” among the Rohingyas and there was “lack of conducive environment” in Rakhine for their return.

Source: United News of Bangladesh