Myanmar Athlete Voices Fear of Returning Home

Society

Osaka, June 17 (Jiji Press)--A member of Myanmar's national soccer team for men, who drew attention for a gesture signaling protest of the country's military last month in Japan, voiced fear on Thursday about returning to the coup-stricken Southeast Asian country.

At a press conference in the western Japan city of Osaka, Pyae Lyan Aung said that he wants to remain in Japan as his life would be at risk if he flies back to Myanmar. He has refused to return home and asked the Japanese government for his protection.

Myanmar is in an unstable situation following a military coup on Feb. 1 that ousted the democratically elected government.

Pyae Lyan Aung raised a three-finger salute signaling protest against the military during a Japan-Myanmar qualifying match for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, held in the eastern Japan city of Chiba on May 28.

The 27-year-old goalkeeper said he was thinking about giving the protest salute before coming to Japan. He initially had no plan to stay in Japan. After his action made headlines, however, he realized that he would be in danger if he goes back to Myanmar, he said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press