Japan has suspended the provision of new aid to Myanmar in response to last month’s military coup, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said, as the violent crackdown against protesters draws a wave of international condemnation.
The move follows criticism Japan was taking a soft stance on Myanmar compared with the United States and other Western countries that have placed sanctions on individuals and companies linked to the military junta that ousted the elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi. Japan is a top aid donor to Myanmar, and Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said the suspension of assistance would send a “clear” message. The suspension reportedly affects only new aid, not existing projects, local media said. More than 500 civilians have been killed in the Myanmar military’s crackdown on protesters, and world powers have ramped up their condemnation of the campaign against the anti-coup movement.
Japan has criticised the coup in Myanmar and called for the restoration of democracy, but it has faced calls to stake out a stronger position on the crisis. Thousands of Japanese nationals and several hundred Japanese companies are believed to be in Myanmar, and Japan is reportedly the fifth-largest foreign investor in the country.