Suu Kyi plans Japan trip later this year: Report

TOKYO - Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi plans to visit Japan later this year to discuss her country's political reform process, a report said Thursday.

The Nobel laureate, who was sworn in as a member of parliament Wednesday, also plans to embark on a tour to Britain and Norway in mid-June, her party said last month, as part of her first trip outside Myanmar in 24 years.

Suu Kyi conveyed her desire to visit Tokyo during a meeting with Japan's ambassador to Myanmar, Takashi Saito, at her home in Yangon in early April, the Japanese business daily Nikkei reported, citing an unnamed source.

She has not set foot outside Myanmar since 1988, fearing that the ruling generals would prevent her from returning to the impoverished country, where she was locked up for most of the past two decades.

Suu Kyi's decision to venture out of Myanmar is the latest sign of change in the country, which is opening to the world after almost half a century of repressive junta rule and isolation from the West.

Myanmar officials have said the democracy activist has applied for a passport to travel but it has not yet been granted.

But the Nikkei report said President Thein Sein is expected to approve her trip to Japan later this year, which comes on the invitation of Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba.

The last time Suu Kyi was in Japan was 26 years ago, when she studied at Kyoto University, it said.

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