YANGON, MYANMAR - On a street in central Yangon the final moments of Kenji Nagai's life were captured in a Pulitzer Prize-winning photo, an image that exemplified the brutality of military rule in Myanmar. Mr. Nagai, a Japanese journalist, was shot five years ago during a crackdown on protesters by security forces, and his death was a low point in relations between Myanmar and Japan.
Now, as Myanmar seeks to shed its authoritarian past, a much different picture is emerging. Japan is rapidly ramping up its presence in the country with a heavyweight deployment of government assistance and corporate heft reminiscent of the large investments at the height of Japan's global economic power in the 1980s.
One block away from the spot where Mr. Nagai was killed, on the fourth floor of City Hall, two dozen Japanese engineers are drawing up a master plan to remake the roads, telephone and Internet networks, water supply and sewage systems of Yangon, the country's long-neglected commercial capital.
With the attention to detail they are famous for, Japanese engineers are measuring traffic patterns in Yangon, inspecting 70-year-old water pipes and poring over maps and blueprints.
"Myanmar is saying, 'Welcome! Please help us,"' said Ichiro Maruyama, the deputy chief of mission at the Japanese Embassy in Yangon.
President Thein Sein, who traveled to Tokyo earlier this year to plead for help, is outsourcing crucial parts of his drive to redevelop the country to the Japanese. In addition to the makeover for Yangon, a Japanese consortium has been tasked with building a large industrial zone and satellite city on Yangon's outskirts. The totality of Japanese assistance has stunned those who watch the country closely.
China's television regulator has ordered a crackdown on dramas about the country's battles with Japan during and before World War Two and demanded they be more serious, state media said on Friday, following viewer complaints about ludicrous storylines. (Reuters )
Shukan Post (May 24) conveys the difficulties experienced by other parts of the adult-entertainment biz in servicing customers from the communist nation.
A deri heru (“delivery health”) call-girl tells the tabloid that she is often requested to arrive at major hotels in the Shinjuku and Ikebukuro entertainment areas of Tokyo by Chinese visitors. (Tokyo Reporter)
Police on Friday said that a real estate company employee was stabbed by an unknown assailant in the lobby of an office building near JR Akihabara station. The man is currently in a serious condition in hospital. (Japan Today )