Western leaders have condemned Monday’s coup by Myanmar’s military against Aung San Suu Kyi’s democratically elected government, as hundreds of thousands of her supporters take to social media to voice their anger.
Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said his country has “serious concerns” about the situation and urged Myanmar to “promptly restore a democratic political system” in the Southeast Asian country.
The Myanmar community in Japan and people who have ties with Suu Kyi expressed their surprise and worry over her detention. All eyes are now on Myanmar’s notoriously reclusive military and its leader, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, as the world waits to see what might happen next in the troubled country.
Japanese companies, meanwhile, from retail giant Aeon to auto-parts maker Denso, are scrambling to assess the turmoil in the country once feted as Southeast Asia’s last big frontier. Although some investors have pulled out due to the persecution of the Rohingya minority, hundreds of Japanese firms have remained in Myanmar, an emerging market of more than 50 million people.
As recently as November, Japan and Myanmar signed a total of ¥42.78 billion in low-interest loans to allow the Southeast Asian country to build road infrastructure and facilitate financing for small and midsize firms.
As commentator Teppei Kasai noted in 2019, Japanese companies including beer giant Kirin Holdings have been criticized by human rights groups for doing business with the Myanmar army despite its involvement in atrocities against the Rohingya. Kirin remains on Britain-based pressure group Burma Campaign’s “Dirty List” of companies doing business with the military.