TOKYO (JAPAN) – After Myanmar army seized power and declared a state of emergency, Japan called on Myanmar on Monday to release Aung San Suu Kyi and others arrested after the military seized power from a democratically elected government.
“We are concerned about the state of emergency issued in Myanmar, which damages the democratic process, and call for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and others who were detained,” chief cabinet secretary Katsunobu Kato told a news conference.
Japan and Myanmar have close ties, with Tokyo a major aid donor over the years and scores of firms engaged in business activities there.
“The Japanese government has long been a strong supporter of the democratic process in Myanmar, and opposes any situation that reverses it. Our nation strongly calls on the military to promptly restore democracy,” he added.
Myanmar’s army declared a state of emergency on Monday and said it had detained senior government leaders, accusing Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) of winning a landslide victory in the Nov.8 vote through “election fraud”.
Kato stressed that the government would do everything in its power to ensure the safety of Japanese nationals who are in Myanmar. “At this point there are no reports of any clashes, but we’ll update information and take measures as needed,” he told an earlier news conference.
“Japan believes it is important for the parties to solve problems peacefully through dialogue in accordance with the democratic process,” he added.
The Japanese embassy in Myanmar posted a message on the Foreign Ministry’s website and said while the situation in the country at this point did not appear to be one that would involve ordinary people, people should exercise caution.
“We encourage people to stay inside and refrain from going out unless absolutely essential,” it added.
Burmese and Japanese gathered to protest the coup in downtown Tokyo, wearing masks and holding portraits of Aung San Suu Kyi, to demand that the United Nations further condemn the detention of the country’s leaders.