Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations on Wednesday condemned Monday’s coup in Myanmar and called for the release of all people “unjustly detained,” including civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

In Tokyo, thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the Foreign Ministry, demanding that Japan join its allies in taking a harder stance against the coup. A long line of protesters surrounded government buildings in the capital, where large political demonstrations are relatively rare.

Also Wednesday, Japan said it recognized Monday’s developments as a coup, with Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato telling reporters that Tokyo would “consider its response,” given its significant financial ties to Myanmar.

Thousands gather in Tokyo to protest Myanmar coup | NIPPON TV NEWS 24 JAPAN
Thousands gather in Tokyo to protest Myanmar coup | NIPPON TV NEWS 24 JAPAN

A day earlier, Japan’s deputy defense minister warned that the world’s democracies would risk pushing Myanmar into the arms of China if their response closes channels of communication with the Southeast Asian country’s generals.

The coup will have aftershocks, writes Joshua Kurlantzick, who lists three of the possible negative outcomes. And although the army has declared a state of emergency for a year, Myanmar’s past history suggests it may last far longer.

As former U.N. analyst Luv Puri writes, it goes to show that Aung San Suu Kyi, now detained by the army yet again, was right to be cautious when she began cooperating with the generals over a decade ago. The military set the terms of their democratic experiment, so it was always designed to be reversible.