Japan must responsibly disengage from the Yetagun gas project in Myanmar!

Japan must responsibly disengage from the Yetagun gas project in Myanmar!

12,581 have signed. Let’s get to 15,000!
Petition to
Prime Minister of Japan H.E. Fumio Kishida and

Why this petition matters

日本語  မြန်မာ


We have closed this online signature campaign on November 30, 2022. The final number of signatures was 12,461 and was submitted to Japanese government and companies. Thank you for your cooperation!

Deadline: 30 November, 2022

The Japanese Government, ENEOS, and Mitsubishi Corporation must responsibly disengage from the Yetagun gas project

Although the Myanmar military continues its brutal crackdown on citizens after the coup d’état in February 2021, the Japanese government and ENEOS still have not decided to withdraw from the Yetagun gas development project, which is a source of revenue for the military. There have been media reports that Mitsubishi Corporation, their business partner, has chosen to leave the project. But while several major foreign corporations have recently announced their withdrawal from other gas projects in Myanmar citing human rights issues, the stated reason for Mitsubishi’s planned exit is deterioration of profitability, not human rights. On February 21, 2022, the European Union (EU) finally added the Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) to the list of entities subject to its sanctions.

Atrocities by the military did not begin with the coup. In fact, they have been committed for decades, especially in ethnic minority regions where armed conflict has continued for decades. Many civilians have become victims of forced labor, forced relocation, sexual violence, and extrajudicial killing committed by the military as part of its clearance operations against ethnic armed organizations. After the coup, armed conflict in ethnic minority regions have intensified, and according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, as of February 2022, there are more than 800,000 internally displaced people in Myanmar, including 440,000 who were displaced since the coup <1>.

One significant reason that the military “has been able to continue such violence” is because it has sources of revenue.

The military built its own network of companies to finance its activities since it was in power before Myanmar's transition to civilian rule in 2011. In its 2019 report, a fact-finding mission on Myanmar established by the UN Human Rights Council detailed how the military utilized its business relationships with its holding companies and foreign corporations to support its operations against ethnic minorities <2>.

Japan has also been involved in such business activities. One such project is the Yetagun gas project whose development began in the 1990s. The gas from the Yetagun field is exported to Thailand via a pipeline that cuts through ethnic minority areas in Myanmar <3>. There are four offshore gas fields in operation in Myanmar that generate significant revenue. Gas revenues accounted for 10% of the official revenue for the Myanmar government before the coup. Further, gas revenues were likely connected to an increase in military expenses in the 2000s.

Now, due to the coup, the military has taken control of these revenues again.

Leaked documents published by a Myanmar NGO in December 2021 showed that the Yetagun project would earn US$22.37 million over six months from 21 October, 2021<4>, which will come under control of the military. This figure will increase if operations continue at Yetagun.

The Yetagun project is operated by a consortium led by Malaysian state-owned oil company Petronas Carigali, along with Thailand’s PTTEP, Japan’s Nippon Oil Exploration (Myanmar), and Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) which is under military control. Nippon Oil Exploration (Myanmar) is jointly held by the Government of Japan (through the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry), JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration, and Mitsubishi Corporation <5>.

We have been asking the Japanese investors in the Yetagun project to ensure that revenue from the project will not flow to the military, and to disclose the payments they have made or plan to make in connection with the project. However, none of the investors has taken concrete steps or disclosed any information about payments.

Recently, Mitsubishi Corporation finally expressed its intention to leave the project, and it has been reported that Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is also considering its options including withdrawal. Under the current circumstances, simply withdrawing from the project would irresponsibly allow the risk of revenue from future payments to flow to the Myanmar military. Further, it appears that the Yetagun field is no longer able to produce enough gas for the project to be profitable, and production contracts are due to expire in a few years. In that event, failure to close the gas field appropriately may cause massive environmental and social harm. We must not let the Japanese government and corporations, who have reaped enormous profits, to impose such a risk on the people of Myanmar and future generations in the world. 

We strongly urge the Japanese government, ENEOS (JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration), and Mitsubishi Corporation to responsibly disengage from the Yetagun project by addressing the following points. 

- When withdrawing from the project, take measures without fail to ensure that revenue from the project will not come under control of the Myanmar military.

- There is concern that the Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) will not take adequate steps toward closing the Yetagun field because it is controlled by the military which has no regard for the lives of people or the environment. The Japanese investors, having profited from the project, must fulfill their responsibility in closing the field in cooperation with other project partners.


<1> “UNHCR steps up aid for displaced in Myanmar as conflict intensifies”


<2> Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, Economic interests of the Myanmar military, August 5, 2019.

<3> According to reports, during construction of a pipeline from the Yadana natural gas field to Thailand, the military set up outposts along the pipeline route and subjected local ethnic communities to forced relocation, forced labor, looting, rape, and summary executions. Several years later, a pipeline from the Yetagun field was laid along the same route.

<4> Justice For Myanmar. (2021/12/16) “Leaked documents show Min Aung Hlaing personally concerned over oil and gas payments.”


<5> Stakes in the Yetagun project are held by the Malaysian state-owned oil company Petronas Carigali (40.9%), MOGE (20.5%), Thailand’s PTTEP, which is a subsidiary of state-owned PTT (19.3%), and Japan’s Nippon Oil Exploration (Myanmar)(19.3%). Nippon Oil Exploration (Myanmar) is jointly held by the Government of Japan (through the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry)(50%), JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration (40%), and Mitsubishi Corporation (10%). JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration is a wholly owned subsidiary of ENEOS Holdings.

Sponsors of this campaign: ayus: Network of Buddhists Volunteers on International Cooperation, FoE Japan, Japan International Volunteer Center, Network Against Japan Arms Trade, Mekong Watch

Human rights situation in Myanmar:

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), 1,507 citizens including children have been killed and 8,899 people have been unjustly detained as of February 1, 2022. Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, Daily Briefing in Relation to the Military Coup, February 1, 2022: https://aappb.org/?p=19961

In July 2021, the Independent Investigative Mechanism on Myanmar (IIMM), set up by the UN Human Rights Council, found that security forces including the military have “committed serious international crimes” since the coup, such as murders, persecution, arbitrary detentions, sexual assaults, forced disappearances, and torture. 

Report of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar, p.9, July 5, 2021:


Information about gas projects in Myanmar:

EU Council Decision (CFSP) 2022/243 of 21 February 2022 (MOGE added to the list of entities subject to EU sanctions): ​​https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32022D0243&from=EN

Nikkei Asia. "Mitsubishi Corp. to offload interest in Myanmar gas field". (Feb. 18, 2022)


Reuters. "Mitsubishi, Petronas to sell stakes in Myanmar Yetagun gas field". (Feb. 18, 2022)


Offshore Technology. "Mitsubishi and Petronas to exit from Yetagun gas project in Myanmar ". (Feb. 21, 20220


Statements by civil society organizations:

Request to the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry from Mekong Watch and FoE Japan, September 15, 2021


Mekong Watch, FoE-J and JFM cautiously welcome Mitsubishi Corporation’s withdrawal from the Yetagun project and call for responsible disengagement (press release), February 18, 2022


Japan must stop funding the Myanmar military to stop atrocities! (signature campaign on Change.org)


Myanmar’s MOGE included in new EU sanctions: Japanese government and companies must swiftly and responsibly withdraw from gas joint venture (press release), February 22, 2022



12,581 have signed. Let’s get to 15,000!