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“Refugee recognition” in protest against the military government Myanmar national team GK “Room share with 2DK” Life in Japan with anxiety and hope | Smart FLASH[光文社週刊誌]

Before coming to Japan, he himself participated in the demonstration and was shot by the army with tear gas.

“Now, I am relieved to hear that the refugee application is permitted. If I am certified, I will be able to obtain a status of residence in Japan and work.”

That smiles when he raised the “three fingers”, which means a protest against the military government of his native Myanmar, at the time of the national singing of the Japan national team match in the second qualifying round of the World Cup in Asia on May 28. Myanmar national team goalkeeper Pyae Lyan Aung (26).

Originally, he was scheduled to return from Kansai International Airport the day after the match against Tajikistan (Osaka) on June 15, which was the final round of the second qualifying round. However, since the military coup d’etat that broke out in February this year, Myanmar has been under the control of the armed forces, and it is safe to be arrested and tortured if it shows an opposition to the army. He protested, knowing that, and was persuaded by the people around him that “returning to the country could be life-threatening,” and asked the Japanese government for protection.

Two days before being recognized as a refugee on August 20, Pyae Lyan Aung gave an exclusive interview. When I visited 2DK’s apartment where I lived with my roommate in my hometown, he was having breakfast. After practicing, he said he was hungry, so he flattened two cup ramen noodles, put rice in the remaining soup, and cooked porridge to complete the meal. Soccer shirts and socks were hung outside the room, and my favorite GK gloves were placed in the bedroom.

Pyae Lyan Aung is currently settled in Yokohama with the support of the Japanese Burma Relief Center and will play for the club’s futsal team as a trainee for the J League (J3) YSCC Yokohama. It is said that he wakes up at 4:30 every morning and goes to practice from 6 o’clock.

“Compared to Myanmar, the level is high even though it is J3. However, in futsal, I do not feel the difference in level as soccer. I will return when Myanmar becomes peaceful, but I bought the resentment of the Myanmar Football Federation However, it will be difficult to play as a soccer player in my home country. I would be happy if I could play as a professional player in Japan, but in the future I would like to make use of what I learned in Japan to teach children in Myanmar. “

Myanmar is known as one of the poorest countries in Asia, and the average monthly income of the people is about 20,000 yen. Life is not easy even for soccer players, and Pyae Lyan Aung does not stay in Japan with a lot of money. Still, he says he has no complaints about the current situation.

“I miss Myanmar, and sometimes I’m confused by the differences in life, language, and culture in Japan. However, the staff and colleagues of the team are kind to me like a family, and it’s easy to live in a new room. I am exchanging messages with my friends in Myanmar on SNS, and my family was being monitored by the armed forces for a while, but I have confirmed that it is safe. “

Why did Pyae Lyan Aung risk protest against the armed forces? He said he couldn’t just hold his finger to see the army firing at the demonstrators. He emphasized that he wanted people all over the world to know that the people of Myanmar were being unjustly persecuted, with about 1,000 people killed and more than 5,000 detained.

“The military mercilessly killed the people who participated in the demonstration, and my soccer companion was also killed. But in Myanmar, I don’t know where to call. So I put three fingers in the match against Japan. I decided to set it up because I heard that a lot of media will come and broadcast the game against Japan, so that the Japanese government and the Japanese people will be aware of it. But no one pays attention to it. “

Pyae Lyan Aung wrote “WE NEED JUSTICE (we need justice)” on his finger on the bus heading to the match venue, and each player, including himself, who is a reserve goalkeeper, can be seen when singing the national anthem. I noticed that it was projected up on a large screen, and waited for myself to be projected, then raised my three fingers.

“Many of my teammates didn’t say anything with care, but some players jokingly said,’I won’t put you in jail.’ I was strongly told, “Don’t do the same thing again.” I heard that the president of the soccer federation said, “I will not be arrested even if I return to Japan, so please come back.” was”

At first, I was prepared to return to Japan with the team, but I thought about myself and saw a chance to leave the team.

“There was a guard outside the hotel room and I couldn’t go to the other floors. At first I tried to get out of the hotel for dinner after the war in Tajikistan on the 15th, but the team staff told me. I found it. The next day, security became strict and I gave up when I had no choice but to return to Japan. However, when I was alone at the immigration (immigration counter) at the airport, I told him that I would not return to Japan, and managed to do so. I was able to stay in Japan. “

Escape drama at the last minute. At that time, the smartphone used to contact the outside was received from the supporter so that the team would not notice it.

When I stayed in Japan, the future was blank. If he were to play in the J-League or F (futsal) league, he would be the first refugee player, but the hurdles are not low in reality.

“I have no regrets about raising my three fingers, and I’m proud to have taken the attitude of justice. Soccer is both a job and a hobby. I can forget that I’m worried when I play soccer. You can, but if you don’t (as a player), you’ll be looking for another job. “

His future as a soccer player depends on his ability, but I just hope he has a bright future.

Interview & text, Masao Kurihara

(Weekly FLASH September 7, 2021 issue)

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