Japan approves six-month visa for Burmese footballer seeking asylum

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Japan approved a six-month visa on Friday for a Myanmar national soccer team goalkeeper who refused to return home with his teammates last month, his lawyer said.

Pyae Lyan Aung applied for refugee status and applied to change visa status in Japan on June 22 after expressing fear for his life of giving a three-fingered salute in protest against the coup military in his country, during a recent World Cup. qualifier near Tokyo.

The 27-year-old has been granted a “designated activities” visa allowing him to stay and work in the country for six months, on the basis of an emergency government measure to prevent the deportation of Burmese residents in Japan.

Japanese immigration authorities had said the office would process his application promptly, as he would most likely be persecuted by the military if he returned to his home country.

Pyae Lyan Aung entered Japan at the end of May as a member of the Myanmar national football team on a short-stay visa not exceeding 90 days.

During the match between Japan and Burma in Chiba at the end of May, the goalkeeper, who took over as a substitute, raised three fingers of his right hand with the inscription “WE NEED JUSTICE” in English. The salute was used as a show of resistance in Myanmar to the February 1 coup.

As the team was set to leave Japan on June 16 after playing two more World Cup qualifiers, he told immigration officials at Kansai Airport in Kansai Prefecture. Osaka that he wanted to stay in Japan.

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