Tuesday, 28 September, 2021

Myanmar goalkeeper to be granted asylum in Japan

Myanmar goalkeeper to be granted asylum in Japan

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Japan will grant asylum to a footballer from Myanmar's national team who raised an anti-coup salute during a match outside Tokyo and refused to fly home, reports said Friday.

Substitute goalkeeper Pyae Lyan Aung raised the three-finger salute as the national anthem played before a World Cup qualifier against Japan in May.

He then said he had decided to seek asylum in Japan because his life would be "in danger" if he returned to Myanmar. Multiple major Japanese media outlets, citing anonymous sources, said the government had decided to grant the player refugee status.

The footballer's lawyer told AFP he was not aware of the outcome of the asylum claim, adding that his client was due to report to Osaka immigration office on August 20.

Public broadcaster NHK said Japan's immigration agency planned to certify the player's refugee status next week. The agency was not immediately reachable for comment. The embassy told Japan's foreign ministry that diplomatic visas for the pair would no longer be valid -- but no action has been taken to revoke their visas, a ministry official told AFP on Friday.