Rohingya Muslims, who spent four days in the open after crossing over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, sit in a truck after they were allowed to proceed towards a refugee camp, at Palong Khali, Bangladesh, Oct 19, 2017. (DAR YASIN / AP)
BANGKOK — Japan's foreign minister has urged Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi to guarantee the safe and voluntary return of Rohingya who have fled violence in troubled Rakhine state.
While Foreign Minister Taro Kono is visiting Myanmar, Japan's government announced Friday a grant of US$3 million to Myanmar to help repatriate the refugees.
Kono's three-day visit to Myanmar includes traveling to northern Rakhine, from where more than 650,000 Rohingya fled to neighboring Bangladesh to escape the military's crackdown.
He conveyed serious concern over Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims to Suu Kyi.
Myanmar and Bangladesh signed an agreement on the repatriation of Rohingya refugees on Nov 23, and Myanmar said it would start the process by Jan 23.
The exact number of the returnees is still unknown.