Japan has suspended Myanmar’s assistance in response to the junta’s take over, according to Japan’s foreign minister. However, it is falling short of sanctions imposed by some nations on military and police commanders.
Japan is the highest economic aid donor to Myanmar, and Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said the suspended assistance would send a “clear” message.
“What stance in Japan taking in terms of economic assistance? There is no new aid. We are taking this clear position.”
World powers, including Britain, United States, and the European Union, have announced a range of disciplinary sanctions that target top police and military commanders linked to the coup and military-owned companies.
However, Japan which has strong economic ties with Myanmar and long-standing relations with its military has chosen not to be too hard on Myanmar.
According to local reports, the suspension reportedly affects only new aid, not existing projects.
It should be noted more than 500 civilians have been killed in the Myanmar military’s crackdown on protesters, and world powers have outrightly condemned the campaign against the anti-coup demonstrations.
Japan has criticized the coup in Myanmar and called for the restoration of democracy. Still, it has faced calls to use a far stronger voice to call on Myanmar authorities to end the ruthless crackdown on unarmed protesters.
So far, Tokyo has traditionally maintained cordial relations with Myanmar and threw its support on the cause of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who lived in Kyoto briefly as a young researcher.
Thousands of Japanese nationals and several hundred Japanese companies are planted in Myanmar, and Japan is reportedly the fifth-largest foreign investor in the country.