Japan must foster its own approach to the Myanmar crisis

Japan must foster its own approach to the Myanmar crisis

Sawako Utsumi and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The government of Japan must foster its own independent approach to the Myanmar crisis while working with the United States of America, the European Union (EU), and regional nations. It seems likely that sanctions will be ratcheted up by America and the EU against Myanmar based on the military coup. However, Japan must consider the people of Myanmar who will face even more economic hardship based on heavy sanctions and counter China’s strengthening hand in this country.

The former leader of Japan, Shinzo Abe, adopted an independent approach to Myanmar and the Russian Federation – and he was more nuanced towards China. Thus, it is incumbent of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to not follow the beck and call of America.

Instead, Japan – and other democratic nations in Asia including Australia, India, Singapore, and South Korea – should work independently and collectively in promoting the release of State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi. The same applies to the release from house arrest of other politicians belonging to the National League for Democracy (NLD). Therefore, the economic and political angle should be mentioned strongly – along with the warning that Myanmar faces falling under the power dynamics of China.

Modern Tokyo Times warned in late 2019 that the international community had played a negative role in its approach to Myanmar. It was uttered, “Myanmar is seeking to stabilize the democratic path despite countless ethnic issues that beset this nation based on the result of decades of authoritarian rule. At the same time, endless negative media campaigns in Western and Islamic nations are hindering the political leaders of this nation that seek foreign capital. Indeed, if Myanmar is handed to China on a plate or democracy is supplanted, then look no further than the deeds of hypocritical Western and Islamic nations.”

Turning back to events now in Myanmar then what is unfolding was predictable. Hence, Japan and fellow democracies throughout Asia must springboard an approach based on dialogue and economics. This approach needs time. Thus Western nations, including the United States of America, the EU trading bloc, and the United Kingdom, must refrain from hindering this task.

The leaders of the military coup must understand that internal political dialogue is essential in stabilizing Myanmar. This is based on furthering the economic and infrastructural development of this country. Hence economic and infrastructural development by Asian democratic nations must be increased – along with these nations building bridges between Myanmar and Western democracies – providing the military seeks a genuine compromise with Aung San Suu Kyi.

If the military leaders behind the coup ignore the approach of Japan and other Asian democratic nations from India to South Korea in the ensuing period, then economic disinvestment and political alienation will follow. Therefore, a goodwill gesture is needed by the military in releasing Aung San Suu Kyi and other politicians within the NLD before the crisis spirals out of control.


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