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Japan condemns killing of protesters by Myanmar security forces

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    Kyodo News

Tokyo, Japan   /   Mon, March 1, 2021   /   12:55 pm
Japan condemns killing of protesters by Myanmar security forces Police walk on a street in Yangon on February 28, 2021, as security forces continue to crackdown on demonstrations by protesters against the military coup. (Agence France Presse/Ye Aung Thu)

Japan on Monday condemned the use of deadly force by Myanmar security forces against protesters of last month's military coup.

At least 18 protesters were killed and over 30 wounded on Sunday as live ammunition was reportedly fired into crowds in a half dozen cities across the country including Yangon, according to the UN Human Rights Office.

"The use of force against peaceful protesters is unacceptable, and we strongly urge Myanmar security forces to immediately stop the violence against civilians," the government's top spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato, told a press conference on Monday.

Myanmar's military seized power and declared a yearlong state of emergency on Feb. 1, detaining State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and other members of the ruling National League for Democracy.

The coup followed a landslide victory by the NLD in the November general election, the results of which the military has disputed as fraudulent.

Regarding whether Japan would impose sanctions on Myanmar over the military coup including by withholding financial aid, Kato said the government is "closely watching the situation" and considering its options.

Earlier on Sunday, Indonesia said it was "deeply concerned" with the growing violence in Myanmar and urged restraint by security forces, after at least seven people were killed when police cracked down on protesters.

"Indonesia urges the security forces to refrain from the use of force and exercise utmost restraint to avoid further casualties," the foreign ministry said in a statement, quoted by Reuters.

Indonesia has taken the lead within the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in efforts to resolve the turmoil that erupted in Myanmar after the army seized power and detained elected government leader Aung San Suu Kyi and much of her party leadership.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said on Wednesday she had held intensive talks with both the Myanmar military and representatives of the ousted elected government.