During a Foreign Affairs Committee meeting at the House of Representatives on May 12, Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu remarked on the situation in Myanmar, where protests to the military coup in February are being met with oppression by Myanmar’s military government. The foreign minister said that the Japanese government may have to halt all official development assistance (ODA) to Myanmar unless the current situation improves.
“Japan may not be able to continue providing ODA to Myanmar if the current situation persists,” said the minister. He added that the Japanese government has conveyed this position to the Myanmar military and urged it to end the violence.
Motegi expressed his hope that a dialogue may become possible between the parties involved through a visit by a special envoy, whom the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) agreed to send to the country at an extraordinary summit meeting in April.
The Japanese government has been hesitant to follow Western nations in imposing sanctions on Myanmar, but Japan has not extended new ODA to the country since the coup. It looks like Motegi stated that ODA projects that are currently underway may also be halted in the case of prolonged turmoil in Myanmar. Humanitarian aid, including food and medicine, is expected to continue.
Japan is Myanmar’s largest aid donor except for China; there is no reliable data on China’s support for Myanmar.