Home Equality & Justice Japan refuses to issue visas for diplomats from Myanmar

Japan refuses to issue visas for diplomats from Myanmar

Government sources in Japan say that allowing the new diplomats would be tantamount to recognizing the military coup

Japan has effectively refused to issue visas for two diplomats from Myanmar who were appointed by the military junta to Tokyo in place of two diplomats fired in March by the military.

Reports from Japan quoted government sources saying that allowing the replacements would be tantamount to recognizing the military coup that ousted the country’s elected leaders in February.

Media reports said Myanmar’s military has requested that Japan issue diplomatic visas for the two replacements but Tokyo has said it “is considering” the request although it has not acted on it.

Japan continues to recognize the diplomatic status of the two sacked diplomats after they boycotted their duties at the Embassy in protest of the coup.

Earlier, the foreign minister of Singapore said the progress by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Myanmar has not been as effective as hoped.

The United Nations and many countries have urged ASEAN, whose 10 members include Myanmar, to restore stability through diplomacy.

“(ASEAN is) not as effective or as quick as we would have hoped for. But this is a difficult situation,” said Vivian Balakrishnan of Singapore in an interview with Reuters.

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In April, ASEAN announced a five-point consensus aimed at resolving the crisis.

As part of those efforts, the bloc appointed Brunei’s second minister for foreign affairs as special envoy to Myanmar in early August.

Balakrishnan said he hoped there would be progress to report on the envoy’s visit before the ASEAN leaders’ summit in November. But he cautioned that the military had to grant the envoy access to all stakeholders for the visit to be meaningful.

“The key litmus test now will be how they engage with our special envoy,” Balakrishnan said.

The death toll as a result of Myanmar’s Feb. 1 coup topped 1,000 this week, according to the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners activist group, which has been recording killings by security forces.

Myanmar’s economy has collapsed and a humanitarian crisis worsened in the past month as coronavirus infections surged, overwhelming the health system.

Balakrishnan called the situation “dire” and said ASEAN was trying be constructive, facilitate dialogue and deliver humanitarian assistance. – with a report from Reuters

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