The Japanese multinational runs a joint venture with the Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings, a company controlled by and for the benefit of the Burmese military. IRC says the company is “legitimizing the military and providing them with profits as they face accusations of genocide in the UN's top court.”
Kirin has also admitted that its subsidiary made three donations to the military and authorities in the country during the ethnic cleansing campaign against the Rohingya population in late 2017.
The donations totalling USD$30,000 were made between 1 September and 3 October 2017. The first was given to the military’s Commander-in-Chief during a televised ceremony, in which he stated that it would be used in part to fund “security personnel and state service personnel”.
Seema Joshi, Head of Business and Human Rights at Amnesty International stated,
“It beggars belief that any international investor would make donations to Myanmar’s military, at a time when those very forces were carrying out ethnic cleansing.”
The company is included in the Burma Campaign’s ‘Dirty List’, which names the international companies doing business with the military in Myanmar or involved in projects in the country linked to human rights violations or environmental destruction. Apple, Google, Facebook, Huawei, Tata Group and Toshiba all also feature on the list.
Kirin owns Fourpure Brewing Company in the UK, as well as a 24% stake in Brooklyn Breweries, owner of Brooklyn Lager and other brands. Its Kirin Ichiban beers are also sold in the UK.