• Kyodo

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A total of 72.3% of respondents to a recent government survey said Japan should proactively engage with the Myanmar situation as part of international efforts to address the crisis in the Southeast Asian nation.

In contrast, 24.0% of respondents said the government should not do so using its communications channels with both the military, which carried out the Feb. 1 coup, and detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy.

While the United States and the European Union slapped sanctions on Myanmar, Japan has been attempting to persuade the Myanmar military, known as the Tatmadaw, to free Suu Kyi and other detainees and return power to the democratically elected leadership.

With Japanese opposition parties criticizing the government’s stance as being too soft and calling for punitive measures against Myanmar’s junta, a Foreign Ministry official said the survey showed the public generally support the government’s policy toward Myanmar.

In a multiple-answer question on China, 69.3% said Japan should take a “strong stance” on intrusions by official Chinese ships into Japanese waters around the Senkaku Islands, a group of East China Sea islets controlled by Tokyo but claimed by Beijing.

A total of 50.3% said Japan should urge China to respect human rights, freedom, democracy and the rule of law.

Asked if they think the Japan-U.S. alliance serves to ensure peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, 68.5% said yes and 26.1% responded otherwise.

The annual survey, conducted between March 20 and 23 by phone, covered 1,000 people aged 18 and older, the results of which the Foreign Ministry uses to gauge the public’s mood and concerns in a range of areas in which Japan is diplomatically engaged.

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