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Japanese gov't urging citizens to consider returning from Myanmar

TOKYO -- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan is sending consular emails every day, recommending that Japanese nationals in Myanmar, where anti-coup protests are continuing to take place, consider returning to their homeland.

    Though the overseas risk for Myanmar is currently at level 2 (avoid nonessential travel), except in some areas where ethnic armed groups are active, it could be raised to level 3 (avoid all travel) for all of Myanmar.

    Up until now, the Japanese government had requested its citizens to secure their safety. But since March 9, it has been prompting Japanese nationals to consider returning "via commercial flights if you do not have urgent business or anything of the like."

    The Japanese government is also calling on its citizens to "never attend or approach rallies and protests," as the "security situation is unpredictable and there may be a sudden turn of events in the future."

    A human rights organization announced that the number of people who died in shootings by security forces and for other reasons had topped 200 as of March 16.

    Though the number of Japanese nationals hoping to return is increasing, there are many cases in which they cannot receive coronavirus tests necessary for leaving Myanmar due to the deterioration of the security situation. For this reason, the foreign affairs ministry has taken special measures to exempt pre-departure certificates from the Japanese Embassy's procedures, and instead have its citizens receive coronavirus tests upon their return and isolate at facilities near airports.

    (Japanese original by Ryuko Tadokoro, Political News Department)

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