Japan said on Monday that it was "deeply disappointed" by weekend elections in military-ruled Myanmar which exluded democracy icon and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.
Japan had repeatedly urged Myanmar to "hold free, fair and open elections", foreign ministry press secretary Satoru Sato said in a statement after Myanmar staged its first elections in two decades on Sunday.
Japan had "called for the immediate release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as well as holding a substantial dialogue with NLD (National League for Democracy) and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi," it said, using an honorific for Suu Kyi.
"We are deeply disappointed that such an expectation was not fulfilled up to the elections in spite of these efforts," the statement added. Japan also urged the generals to release political detainees, realise a transition to a civilian and accountable system of government, and respect fundamental human rights and freedoms.
Unlike major Western nations, Japan has maintained trade and dialogue with Myanmar, warning that a hard line on the military junta could push it closer to neighbouring China, its main political supporter and commercial partner.
Tokyo has however suspended economic aid since 2003, except for humanitarian and emergency purposes.