Peter A Goldsbury
... A few years ago, I discovered that a Hombu shihan, who was also an IAF official, was due to give a training seminar in Myanmar (Burma). Japan gives aid to Myanmar, and one of the ways this is done is through JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) and includes sending aikido instructors to give seminars (clearly to the military junta: a tradition going back to just after the war, when Aritoshi Murashige first started teaching there). I commented to the shihan that this visit was evidence of, shall we say, a certain short-sightedness: an inability to see beyond the immediate consequences of an action.
In perspective though, is this that objectionable, at least on the aikido side? Burma had a good run up to '62 (U Thant) during the initial forays of aikido expansion overseas. One may legitimately differ about the usefulness of maintaining such ties into a repressively closed society, much as we in the States debate the same about Cuba. (For the record, I think the isolation was an understandable reaction, but a short-sighted approach).