Kirin investigates if donations went to Myanmar's forces - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Kirin investigates if donations went to Myanmar's forces

By YURI KAGEYAMA
AP Business Writer

TOKYO (AP) - Japanese beer company Kirin is investigating whether donations intended for charity instead went to Myanmar's military, which is accused of brutal attacks against Rohingya Muslims.

Amnesty International has urged Japanese authorities to look into donations Kirin's subsidiary Myanmar Brewery made in September and October.

A televised ceremony for a $6,000 donation showed the commander of Myanmar's military.

Tokyo-based Kirin Holdings Co. acknowledged Friday it needs to better monitor its donations and said it had halted them in Myanmar until the investigation is finished. It was unclear how long that will take.

Seema Joshi, head of business and human rights at Amnesty International, said Japan has a responsibility to ensure companies don't contribute to rights abuses.

"Not only is there a risk that these donations actually funded the operations of military units involved in crimes against humanity, but the choice to appear in a donation ceremony with Myanmar's top military leaders also sends a worrying message that Myanmar Brewery endorsed the military's actions against the Rohingya population," she said.

Kirin said it believes other donations likely didn't go to the military, with $2,000 worth of rice and cooking oil going directly to victims of violence in western Rakhine state and $22,500 in October going to civilian volunteers.

But the company acknowledged it did not really know how the money was used.

Myanmar security forces are accused of rape, killing and torture of minority Rohingya, 700,000 of whom have fled to Bangladesh following counterinsurgency operations in Rakhine state.

Amnesty International has been in contact with Kirin since March over the donations. In correspondence released by the watchdog, which Kirin also confirmed, the beer company initially defended its donations as humanitarian.

"The decision to participate in the donation round was based on the nature of the request and the trust we have in our business partner's adherence to the explicit terms of our joint venture agreement, which prohibit any use of Myanmar Brewery's funds for military purposes under any circumstances," Kirin President and Chief Executive Yoshinori Isozaki said in a letter to Joshi, dated April 27.

Amnesty noted that the donations were made at the height of the campaign against the Rohingya, which the U.N. and the U.S. have described as "ethnic cleansing."

Kirin acquired a 55 percent stake in Myanmar Brewery in 2015 for $560 million from Fraser and Neave, based in Singapore.

Kirin, which also makes non-alcoholic beverages such as juices and bottled teas, has been expanding its business in Southeast Asia as well as Brazil and China. It owns a stake in San Miguel in the Philippines.

___

Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

Her work can be found at https://www.apnews.com/search/yuri%20kageyama

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Entertainment newsMore>>

  • Peter Fonda apologizes for 'vulgar' Barron Trump tweet

    Peter Fonda apologizes for 'vulgar' Barron Trump tweet

    Wednesday, June 20 2018 5:02 PM EDT2018-06-20 21:02:48 GMT
    Thursday, June 21 2018 6:33 AM EDT2018-06-21 10:33:18 GMT
    (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File). FILE - In this Jan. 2, 2018 file photo, Peter Fonda presents the Desert Palm achievement award at the 29th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival in Palm Springs, Calif. Fonda has apologized for a l...(Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File). FILE - In this Jan. 2, 2018 file photo, Peter Fonda presents the Desert Palm achievement award at the 29th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival in Palm Springs, Calif. Fonda has apologized for a l...
    Peter Fonda apologizes for Barron Trump tweet saying first son be ripped from mother's arms.More >>
    Peter Fonda apologizes for Barron Trump tweet saying first son be ripped from mother's arms.More >>
  • Science Says: What makes something truly addictive

    Science Says: What makes something truly addictive

    Thursday, June 21 2018 2:51 AM EDT2018-06-21 06:51:50 GMT
    Thursday, June 21 2018 6:32 AM EDT2018-06-21 10:32:57 GMT
    (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon). FILE - In this Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013 file photo, a college student plays a computer game at an Internet cafe in Seoul, South Korea. On Monday, 18, 2018, the World Health Organization said that compulsively playing video ga...(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon). FILE - In this Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013 file photo, a college student plays a computer game at an Internet cafe in Seoul, South Korea. On Monday, 18, 2018, the World Health Organization said that compulsively playing video ga...
    Video game "addiction" decision renews debate over whether behaviors can cause same kind of illness as drugs.More >>
    Video game "addiction" decision renews debate over whether behaviors can cause same kind of illness as drugs.More >>
  • The Mouse chases the Fox: Disney makes $71B counteroffer

    The Mouse chases the Fox: Disney makes $71B counteroffer

    Wednesday, June 20 2018 8:31 AM EDT2018-06-20 12:31:30 GMT
    Thursday, June 21 2018 4:42 AM EDT2018-06-21 08:42:21 GMT
    (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File). FILE - In this Aug. 8, 2017, file photo, The Walt Disney Co. logo appears on a screen above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The potential for another media megadeal are sending shares of Comcast, Twenty-First Ce...(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File). FILE - In this Aug. 8, 2017, file photo, The Walt Disney Co. logo appears on a screen above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The potential for another media megadeal are sending shares of Comcast, Twenty-First Ce...

    The competition for Fox is heating up, as Disney is boosting its offer for the company to $70.3 billion.

    More >>

    The competition for Fox is heating up, as Disney is boosting its offer for the company to $70.3 billion.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly