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INTERNATIONAL > East Asia & Pacific

Japan expresses concern over Myanmar

  • February 2, 2021
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All national dailies wrote that Foreign Minister Motegi issued a statement on Monday in which Japan expressed serious concerns about the coup staged by the Myanmar (Burma) military earlier in the day. Tokyo also urged the release of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and other leaders. Motegi said in the statement that the Japanese government has strongly supported Myanmar’s democratic process and opposes moves against it. 


However, Nikkei claimed that the Suga administration’s response to the coup in Myanmar was slow compared to other countries as the United States and the United Nations swiftly released statements denouncing it. The paper wrote that while the White House issued a statement within hours of the incident, saying it opposes any attempt to alter the outcome of recent elections or impede Myanmar’s democratic transition, and Secretary of State Blinken tweeted, “The military must reverse these actions immediately,” Motegi did not issue a statement until after 4 p.m. The paper pointed out that Japan’s position on Myanmar has differed from those of the United States and European nations as Tokyo has supported the democratization of the county while maintaining relations with the military junta. The paper wrote that there is concern that isolation from the international community could push Myanmar closer to China. 


Asahi speculated that Japan may find itself in a difficult position if the United States decides to impose sanctions on Myanmar, and Japan will be tested over how to coordinate with the Biden administration, which attaches importance to democracy and human rights, in dealing with Myanmar. 


Sankei wrote that while the United States, Japan, and other democratic nations expressed strong concern over the coup, China is making moves to increase its influence over Myanmar by reaching out to the military. The paper speculated that the political turmoil in Myanmar may become the first diplomatic challenge for the Biden administration. 

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