Japan may halt new assistance projects in Myanmar in light of military coup

Moscow, Feb 25 (FN Agency) The Japanese government is considering halting new assistance projects in Myanmar after a military coup occurred in the Southeast Asian country, media reported on Thursday, citing sources. The Kyodo news agency notes that despite condemning the coup, Japan, as a major donor to Myanmar, plans to continue emergency assistance offered through international organizations and NGOs in such areas as combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier in February, Japan joined the Group of Seven advanced economics in condemning the coup and calling for the restoration of the civilian government in Myanmar. Tokyo called for the release of Myanmar’s state counselor, Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and other officials who were placed under house arrest. At the same time, Japan has distanced itself from imposing sanctions on Myanmar’s military leadership, unlike the US and the UK that imposed sanctions against multiple individuals affiliated with Myanmar’s military.

According to the media outlet, Japan continues to maintain contacts with both the Myanmar military and the National League for Democracy (NLD) party that won the November 8 general election. In the 2019 fiscal year, Japan reportedly provided $1.8 billion in development assistance to Myanmar. On February 1, Myanmar’s military seized power in the country, announcing a one-year state of emergency and vowing to take action against alleged voter fraud during the November 8 general election, which was won by the NLD party. The military said it was committed to preserving the democratic system and vowed to hold fair elections after the state of emergency ends.

Myanmar’s state counselor, as well as the president and other top officials who were members of the ruling NLD party, were detained and accused of election fraud. Protests have been held across Myanmar since the military took over. Dozens of protests were injured and four people were killed.