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24 Million Dollars Passport Money f
Subject: 24 Million Dollars Passport Money for SLORC
MYANMAR EMBASSY SUCCESSFUL IN SQUEEZING BURMESE IN JAPAN
Released by ISBDA on November 14, 1995.
It is well known that SLORC issues Myanmar passports to those who must
pretend they have gotten themselves hired by companies abroad. Once their
passports are in hand, they are valid for three years, but after that, it
is necessary for the passport holder to apply for an extension at the
nearest embassy every year. The time of passport extension is the
opportune time for embassy staff to force each poor Burmese worker to part
with 10% of his annual income as determined by the SLORC embassy. This
program has proved quite a successful ploy, especially in Japan.
Although Burmese are not officially welcome except those who are close to
the authorities, Japan is regarded as a treasure island for many Burmese
because they can earn more than they could ever dream of in Burma where
university graduates spend several years before finding a mediocre job to
earn a living. A very reliable source in Japan estimates that there are
from 20,000 to 30,000 Burmese in Japan, the majority of whom are illegal
Since these people need to keep their passports valid, they have no choice
but than to transfer 10,000 yen (US$100) per month to the SLORC embassy.
Recent unofficial accounts of bank transfers in Japan by Burmese to the
SLORC embassy amounts to 24 million dollars per year. This obviously has to
be a major source of income to the Burmese military government.
Meanwhile, Japanese are not quite happy with this taxing attitude of
SLORC's because the embassy avoids reporting their income for proper
taxing in accordance with Japan's own laws. Also, the Japanese are
astonished to see that Burmese who are really not working but are
legitimately and legally studying at schools and colleges in Japan are also
taxed by the relentless SLORC Embassy.
The Embassy is extremely lax in many ways. Office hours for public services
are indeterminate. Often there is no one available to answer phone
inquiries, while at other times the caller is kept for an inexcusable
amount of time on hold, with ten minutes or more quite common.
More seriously, although virtually all Burmese have to pay this so-called
tax money, the embassy does virtually nothing for them in return. No
embassy officer will respond when called by Japanese police if there is a
crime involving a Burmese national who needs legal help. Unlike every
other nationality, no Burmese embassy official came to take care of the
Burmese victims of Great Hanshin earthquake early this year. In another
outregeous incident, even the Japanese officials had to wait for weeks
before they were able to cremate a Burmese who died in a local hospital.
The Embassy took a long time to confirm his identity as a Burmese national
working in the country illegally. This despite the fact that he carried a
Burmese passport for which he had to pay tax.
To be fair, although the Embassy is a hard currency earner for SLORC,
Embassy officers and staff members are grossly underpaid, officially, given
the cost of living in Japan. One of the benefits of their position,
however, is that they usually receive rice and other staple foods from
Rangoon carried by Burmese ships. Embassy staff frequently sell these
Burmese foods to Burmese living in Tokyo at considerable profit to
themselves. Whenever they want to get something new, such as a business
suit or electrical appliances which are too expensive in Japan for their
salary, they merely ask friends at the Myanmar Embassy in South Korea.
Even after resorting to these convenient strategies, however, Embassy staff
can not save enough money to keep their bosses at the foreign ministry back
home happy. Thus many junior officers of the Myanmar Embassy can be found
working at part time jobs in Tokyo restaurants beside ordinary Burmese
This is the strange life of a Myanmar diplomat who by taxing every Burmese
passport holder in Japan generates 24 million dollars annual income for the
SLORC military government.
The following is ISBDA database of officers in the SLORC Embassy in Tokyo.
Name DoB Service in Japan Session
U Soe Win 7/27/45 0.9 yr Ambassador
Maj. Hlaing Tun 10/1/41 1.0 yr Military
U Kyaw Tint Swe 2/19/45 1.4 yr Chief Counselor
U Than Htike 1/12/58 0.5 yr Counselor
U Hla Myint na 1.5 yr
U Thet Win 6/9/44 4.5 yr Political
U Thit Lwin (Administration), U Myo Thant Pe (Diplomatic Procedure), U
Myint Thu (Economical), and a dozen of junior officers.