The situation in Myanmar has become ugly as the country’s security forces mount a violent crackdown on peaceful demonstrators. Already more than a dozen people have died, including Buddhist monks and a Japanese journalist. It is the first such shedding of blood since prodemocracy demonstrations in 1988, when more than 1,000 people were killed.

The country’s military junta should immediately end its violent response to the protests and start talks with opposition forces as a first step toward returning the country to democracy. The international community, including Japan, should unite in efforts to prevent the violence from escalating.

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