Japan has expressed “grave concerns” regarding the surprise declaration of martial law in Thailand. The Southeast Asian nation has been undergoing violent political unrest, which saw the former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and some members of her Cabinet forcibly removed from their posts on charges of abuse of power.
Speaking to reporters, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said, “We have grave concerns about the situation in Thailand. We once again strongly urge all parties concerned to act in a self-restrained manner without using violence.” The situation in Thailand, the second-largest economy in Southeast Asia, has been worsening ever since ex-Prime Minister Shinawatra dissolved the lower house in December. It has further escalated and spilled over to violent confrontations on the streets among supporters and the oppositions. Earlier this month, Shinawatra was ousted from her position and was replaced by acting Prime Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan. He in turn refused to step down amidst calls for his resignation, prompting the army to declare martial law. Citizens have expressed outrage and fears that a coup d’etat is in order, something the army has denied. An official speaking on condition of anonymity said, “This is definitely not a coup. This is only to provide safety to people and the people can still carry on their lives as normal.”
Japan is among those who hope that the situation will normalize in the country soon. One of the biggest investors in Thailand, many Japanese manufacturing facilities are located in the country, including carmaker Nissan. “We strongly hope differences among the parties concerned will be settled peacefully through democratic process,” said Suga. He has also stated that the government is coordinating with Thai authorities to ensure the safety of Japanese nationals currently in the country.
[via Straits Times]
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