TOKYO, Japan - Japanese Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone, in talks Tuesday with a minister from Myanmar, urged the country's ruling junta to release pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi as soon as possible.
Tokyo "strongly expects the swift release of Aung San Suu Kyi... and that she will be able to participate in (Myanmar's) democratic process," Nakasone told Agriculture Minister Htay Oo, according to a statement.
Htay responded that the military regime "will consider her early release if she leads a sincere life," according to Japan's foreign ministry statement.
Earlier this month a prison court in Yangon convicted the Nobel laureate of breaching security laws and the regime returned her to house arrest for the next 18 months, drawing international condemnation.
The military has ruled Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, since 1962, launching bloody crackdowns on pro-democracy protests in 1988 and 2007 and jailing dozens of the junta's opponents over the past year.
Myanmar's generals have vowed to hold elections some time in 2010, the first national vote since 1990, when they refused to recognise an overwhelming victory by Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy. --AFP