Burmese goalkeeper Pyae Lyan Aung, who refused to go back to Myanmar following the World Cup qualifier in Japan, will receive refugee status next week, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported on Thursday, citing informed sources.
The Japanese Immigration Services Agency decided to grant the athlete refugee status under the UN Refugee Convention, as his return to Myanmar poses a threat to his life, according to the report.
During a world cup qualifying match between Myanmar and Japan in the city of Chiba near Tokyo on May 28, Pyae Lyan Aung raised a three-finger salute in protest against the military coup in Myanmar, an action he said may have grave consequences to his life if he returns home. The goalkeeper requested to stay in Japan at Kansai airport on June 16, when his team was scheduled to depart.
In July, the Japanese government approved Pyae Lyan Aung’s six-month visa.
On February 1, the Myanmar military overthrew the civilian government and declared a year-long state of emergency, which was later extended until August 2023. The coup triggered massive demonstrations across the nation that have been met with a violent crackdown, resulting in 962 deaths.