Myanmar is spiraling into something like a failed state, with potentially massive humanitarian ramifications for its people and neighboring countries, warns commentator Joshua Kurlantzick.

What can Japan do? Myanmar residents of Japan took to the streets Sunday to call on Tokyo to recognize the National Unity Government, a group set up in opposition to the Feb. 1 coup, as Myanmar’s legitimate governing body.

Most employees of Japanese firms in Myanmar, meanwhile, want Tokyo to impose sanctions on the junta, a survey shows, while a majority of the Japanese public believes their country should engage with all sides to find a solution.

In Myanmar's jungles, protesters are training to fight the junta | CNN
In Myanmar’s jungles, protesters are training to fight the junta | CNN

Japan can play a unique role here, six former Japanese envoys argue in a commentary. Tokyo has ties with the military, detained Aung San Suu Kyi and other domestic political forces and citizen groups in the country.

The ex-diplomats recommend Japan takes four steps, in concert with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which last month produced its own five-point plan to bring about dialogue between the generals and the deposed government.

As the JT Editorial Board notes, ASEAN has often been associated with grand rhetoric and little follow-through. Japan, and other friends of Myanmar, should ensure the plan is backed with action, the board writes.