Japan demands restoration of democracy in Myanmar

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Japan’s government demanded the return of democratic rule in Myanmar on Monday, hours after reports indicated that the country’s armed forces had arrested State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and initiated a coup.

According to multiple reports, Japan’s government, which maintains a close relationship with Myanmar, called on the military to release Suu Kyi and her deputies. Military officials have reportedly declared a yearlong state of emergency, while accusing Suu Kyi and her deputies of election fraud.

“We are concerned about the state of emergency issued in Myanmar, which damages the democratic process, and call for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and others who were detained,” chief Japanese Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said, according to Reuters.

“The Japanese government has long been a strong supporter of the democratic process in Myanmar, and opposes any situation that reverses it,” Kato added.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) also called for a return to “normalcy” in the country. 

“We reiterate that the political stability in ASEAN Member States is essential to achieving a peaceful, stable and prosperous ASEAN Community. We encourage the pursuance of dialogue, reconciliation and the return to normalcy in accordance with the will and interests of the people of Myanmar,” read a statement from ASEAN’s chair, the government of Brunei.

A spokesperson for Suu Kyi’s ruling party told Reuters that Myanmar’s capital remains under military control, with members of the military arresting government officials at gunpoint.

“State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and some other senior figures are being detained in [the capital city of] Naypyidaw,” Myo Nyunt said, according to CNN, adding, “The military seems to take control of the capital now.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki addressed the coup in a statement late Sunday evening, saying the U.S. “opposes any attempt to alter the outcome of recent elections or impede Myanmar’s democratic transition, and will take action against those responsible if these steps are not reversed.”

“We are monitoring the situation closely and stand with the people of Burma, who have already endured so much in their quest for democracy and peace,” she added.

The results of November’s election, in which Suu Kyi’s party defeated the pro-military Union Solidarity and Development Party, were certified earlier this month.

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