The military coup and the following turmoil in Myanmar are tearing the country apart. Having limited economic relations with Myanmar, sanctions by the Europeans and the United States have had little to no effect on the course of events so far.

As it was during the previous coup there in 1989, which led to two decades of rule by the military junta, Japan has been choosing a middle-of-the-road approach between the human rights advocates of the West and the geostrategic realists in China. Japan’s economic weight and diplomatic trust in Myanmar should be wisely leveraged in order to both dissuade the military from invoking further violence and to check against Beijing’s opportunistic and unilateral interference in Myanmar.

Japan's foreign minister has announced that the country is suspending new approval of official development assistance (ODA) to Myanmar after the recent coup. The suspension does not apply to disbursements of previously approved ODA project funding. Humanitarian assistance projects through nongovernmental organizations using the Japanese government budget are not affected by the recent decision.