Myanmar detains Japanese national for alleged violation of rice price controls

Myanmar's ruling military says it has detained a Japanese national for allegedly failing to comply with rice price controls.

Myanmar's state media reported on Sunday that 11 people were detained on suspicion of selling rice at prices above the officially permitted levels.

The report says one of the detained people is a Japanese national, Kasamatsu Hiroshi. It says he has links to major Japanese retailer Aeon.

Japan's embassy in Myanmar told NHK that it is aware of the detention of a Japanese national and is calling on Myanmar's military to release him.

Aeon said Kasamatsu works for its unit that operates supermarkets in Myanmar. Company officials say they have confirmed the safety of the 53-year-old.

They say that with support from the Japanese embassy, they will cooperate with the investigative authorities to achieve an early settlement of the case.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hayashi Yoshimasa told reporters on Monday morning that the detained Japanese national is under investigation at a police station in Yangon.

He quoted a Japanese embassy official in Myanmar as saying the man had no health problems when a lawyer met him at the police station on Sunday night.

Hayashi said the government will continue to appropriately deal with the issue by asking for the man's early release and providing necessary support.

Myanmar's economy has been in a slump since the 2021 coup. The military has been stepping up measures to control food prices, but has failed to cap the prices of rice and other items.

Authorities in Myanmar have previously launched crackdowns on merchants for alleged sales violations.