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Japanese companies' employees in Myanmar favor economic sanctions

Anti-coup protesters flash the three-finger salute together on a message card during a protest against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, on April 26, 2021. (AP Photo)

YANGON (Kyodo) -- Most employees of Japanese companies in Myanmar want Japan to impose some form of economic sanctions against the military government that forcibly took over the country three months ago, according to a new opinion survey.

    The results of the online survey, conducted by Japanese who operate businesses in Myanmar, showed that 95.2 percent of the 145 respondents favored such sanctions, while 89.7 percent agreed with Japan's suspension of official development assistance, or ODA.

    Of the respondents, 97.9 percent supported the so-called "civil disobedience movement" of striking workers from various sectors who have left work to show their displeasure at the resumption of military rule after a decade of slow progress toward democracy.

    The Japanese government has been cautious about economic sanctions. No new ODA has been implemented since the Feb. 1 coup, but aid projects that started before then are still ongoing.

    Most of the survey's respondents were under the age of 40 and about 80 percent of them were women.

    Their reasons for wanting ODA suspension included "I don't think Japan's support will reach" intended recipients and "funds will flow to military-run companies."

    Asked about their expectations of the Japanese government, most respondents sought the start of official dialogue with the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, a group mostly comprising members of the National League for Democracy that was ousted from power.

    A similar survey was conducted of Japanese people associated with Japanese companies in Myanmar.

    Of those 135 respondents, 86.7 percent agreed that the Japanese government should impose economic sanctions, while 57.8 felt it should continue dialogue with the junta.

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