Japan

Japan Calls On Myanmar Military To Restore Democracy, Release Prisoners

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Japan on Friday urged Myanmar’s military to free those detained since the February 1 coup and restore democracy in the country during a meeting with foreign ministers of five Southeast Asian countries along the Mekong River which was attended by the military-appointed representative of Myanmar. “Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi called for dialogue between all relevant parties and expressed his strong hopes for a constructive response from Myanmar,” Kyodo News reported, citing a statement from the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

Motegi reiterated Japan’s support for ASEAN’s initiative to implement a five-point consensus on how to deal with the crisis, including an immediate end to the violence, the statement said. According to the Kyodo News report, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam were involved in the Japan-Mekong meeting.

Earlier, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also called on ASEAN members to hold military rule in Myanmar accountable to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) five-point consensus. On Wednesday, ASEAN foreign ministers appointed Brunei’s second foreign minister, Eriwan Yusoff, as Myanmar’s special envoy to help resolve the political crisis in the country, though it was not yet decided when he would visit.

Meanwhile, Myanmar’s military leader Min Aung Hlaing earlier this week declared himself the country’s prime minister and said he plans to take the charge for two years during an extended state of emergency before holding elections in 2023. On 1 February, Myanmar’s military overthrew the civilian government and declared a year-long state of emergency. The coup led to mass protests, which were quelled by military atrocities in the country.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), more than 945 people have been confirmed dead since the military takeover on February 1.

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