World Japan's Kirin ditches Myanmar beer partner because of its ties to the military
After Myanmar coup, Biden’s Asian allies may balk at sanctions against military
Despite U.S. pledges to rally fellow democracies to punish the regime, there’s little appetite in the region for economic retaliation. The implication, experts said, is that if Myanmar’s generals thought they could manage the diplomatic and economic fallout from their ouster on Monday of the civilian-led government of Aung San Suu Kyi, they were probably right. On Thursday, faced with domestic resistance to its power grab, the military regime blocked Facebook and other messaging apps.
Japanese companies bet on Myanmar years ago as the Southeast Asian country emerged from decades of military rule. Buthas already ended one of those deals.
Brewing giant Kirin said on Friday that it is ending a six-year-old joint venture with a holding company in Myanmar that is linked to the country's military. The army this week seized power in a coup, detaining the country's civilian leaderand numerous other top government figures.
Opinion: How Myanmar's opening to democracy got crushed
Jared Genser writes that the real unpredictable variable in Myanmar is how the Burmese people, who will overwhelmingly oppose the coup, will respond. If they go to the streets together as they have before, they could force the military back to the barracks. Whatever happens, we, in turn, must stand with them. © Stringer/AFP/Getty Images Soldiers stand guard along a blockaded road near Myanmar's Parliament in Naypyidaw on February 2, 2021, as Myanmar's generals appeared in firm control a day after a surgical coup that saw democracy heroine Aung San Suu Kyi detained.
Kirin is "deeply concerned by the recent actions of the military in Myanmar," the company said in a statement, adding that it had "no option but to terminate" the partnership.
Suu Kyi's landslide election victory in 2015 followed decades of isolation and military authoritarianism. That same year, Kirinto buy a majority stake in Myanmar Brewery, the country's top beer company.
Its local business partner and co-owner is Myanmar Economic Holdings Public Company Limited, a firm whichhave pointed out is owned and operated by the , the country's powerful military.
"We decided to invest in Myanmar in 2015, believing that, through our business, we could contribute positively to the people and the economy of the country as it entered an important period of democratization," Kirin said Friday.
Biden's first international crisis, in Myanmar, would be a terrible thing to waste
How Biden handles this crisis will influence what he may or may not be able to do in those that follow.The sure bet it is that there will be more - many more. And how he handles this one will influence what he may or may not be able to do in the ones that follow.
Japanese companies have been investing heavily in Myanmar for more than a decade. Nissanthere, while the Japanese investment bank Daiwa Securities and the Tokyo Stock Exchange were tapped to help build Myanmar's first stock exchange. Daiwa told CNN Business that almost all of the company's 10 staff members returned to Japan because of the coronavirus pandemic. It added that its business ventures in Myanmar are operating "as usual."
Myanmar isn't a major beer market for Kirin. Myanmar Brewery contributed just 1.8% of Kirin's revenue through the first nine months of 2020,.
But it was a fast growing one. Beer consumption in Myanmar rose by 16% in 2019.
Pressure on Kirin to drop its business ties in Myanmar had been growing even before this week's coup. A military crackdown against the ethnic Rohingya Muslim population in the country, which bore "the hallmarks of genocide" according to the United Nations, has been widely condemned.
Thousands protest Myanmar coup in Tokyo, demand Japan take tougher action
Thousands protest Myanmar coup in Tokyo, demand Japan take tougher actionTOKYO (Reuters) - Thousands of Burmese demonstrators gathered outside Japan's foreign affairs ministry on Wednesday demanding Tokyo join its allies in taking a harder stance against the military coup in Myanmar.
Suu Kyi's handling of that crisis has also been criticized. (Myanmarthe charges and has long claimed to have been targeting terrorists.)
A few years ago, Amnesty Internationalabout whether donations made by Myanmar Brewery were used to benefit the country's military. And in 2019, a United Nations independent fact-finding mission released a report claiming that Myanmar's military had been using its business ties to support its "brutal operation against ethnic groups."
Kirin has since been investigating its operations in the country, and last November suspended dividend payments to the Myanmar holding company.
Myanmar coup tests Biden's ability to work with allies in Asia, where China's influence is growing .
Rallying U.S. partners in Asia to join in the condemnation of the military takeover in Myanmar could prove challenging, said analysts from think tank CSIS. Myanmar's military on Monday detained several elected officials including de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and declared a one-year state of emergency. © Provided by CNBC U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 25, 2021. SINGAPORE — The latest coup in Myanmar presents an early test to U.S. President Joe Biden's pledge to work more closely with allies in the Asian region where China's influence is expanding.