Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu has issued a statement on the growing number of civilian casualties in Myanmar, where the military is cracking down on protests against last month's coup.
It says the Japanese government "strongly condemns the situation in Myanmar where the use of force against civilians by the Myanmar military and police continues to cause a large number of deaths and injuries in the country, with the death toll reaching the highest number on March 27 alone."
The statement says that "shooting against civilians, the inhumane treatment of detainees, and strict crackdown on media activities" are "actions that contradict what the Myanmar military officially announced about the importance of democracy."
It urges the military leadership to recall that the military is "an organization for protecting the lives of its people from foreign threats."
The statement says the Japanese government once again strongly urges the Myanmar military to immediately stop resorting to violence against civilians, to release State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and other detainees, and to swiftly restore Myanmar's democratic political system.