Sompo and Mitsui exposed for financing military regime.
Two Japanese insurers with offices in the UK have been named on the Burma Campaign’s ‘Dirty List’.
The campaign group said it has exposed general insurers Sompo Japan and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance for directly or indirectly helping to finance Burma’s ruling military junta.
Both companies’ websites confirmed they have dealings in Burma.
Johnny Chatterton, campaigns officer of the Burma Campaign UK, said: “In an age where companies like to claim they behave ethically, this list exposes those corporations for whom corporate responsibility is just a hollow public relations exercise.
“If you are serious about ethics, you don’t fund dictatorships that rape five-year-old girls, shoot at peaceful protestors and leave storm victims to die. By insuring companies in Burma these companies are providing a financial lifeline to the regime.”
But a spokesman for Sompo Japan said: "We have a representative office in Yangon. It is a representative office mainly for the purpose to collect market information, industry environment information, etc. We used to have one Japanese expatriate there, however, due to the recent environment, we have already pulled back our expatriate several years ago. As such, we do not have relationship with Burmese Government."
Mitsui Sumitomo could not be reached for comment. But its London-based UK division, which like Sompo is a member of the ABI, said it was unaware of the operations in Burma by its parent company.
An ABI spokesman said the trade body would investigate further. He said: “We did an initial investigation and there didn’t appear to be any involvement from UK-domiciled insurers.”
Burma’s dictatorship is considered one of the most brutal in the world. In addition to other atrocities, millions of people remain at serious risk due to the regime’s obstruction of international aid efforts for the victims of cyclone Nargis.
In a press release on its website Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance announced that its group of companies is soliciting staff and corporate donations with a goal of raising ¥23m (£111,000) for victims of the cyclone and the Sichuan earthquake.
The Burma Campaign’s newest Dirty List exposes 154 companies from all sectors.