Myanmar Athlete Seeks Refugee Status in Japan


Osaka, June 22 (Jiji Press)--A member of the Myanmarese men's national soccer team filed an application for refugee status in Japan on Tuesday.

Pyae Lyan Aung, 27, who came to Japan for the team's qualifier matches for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and refused to return home, made the application at the Osaka Regional Immigration Services Bureau in the western Japan city of Osaka.

He arrived at the bureau shortly before 3 p.m. (6 a.m. GMT), looking anxious. After the filing, he told reporters that he finally feels relieved. While noting that he will return home after peace is restored in Myanmar, where a military coup took place in early February, the footballer said he wants Japan to accept him as a refugee in the meantime.

Pyae Lyan Aung voiced concerns about his life in Japan and his family members in Myanmar. He said he is exhausted both physically and mentally. A lawyer supporting Pyae Lyan Aung quoted an official of the immigration bureau as saying that the authorities plan to screen his application early.

Pyae Lyan Aung, a substitute goalkeeper, flashed a three-finger salute, signaling protest against the Myanmarese military, during a World Cup qualifier match between Japan and Myanmar in the city of Chiba, east of Tokyo, on May 28. On Wednesday last week, he arrived at Kansai International Airport in the western prefecture of Osaka with teammates to travel back to Myanmar. But he refused to board the plane, telling an immigration officer that his life would be under threat if he returns home.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press