People from Myanmar living in Japan and their supporters on Feb. 1 rally to express their protest against the Myanmar military on the second anniversary of a 2021 coup. (Shinnosuke Ito and Satoru Ogawa)

Hundreds of people from Myanmar living in Japan and their supporters rallied in Tokyo and Osaka on Feb. 1 to mark the second anniversary of a 2021 military coup that has thrown the Southeast Asian nation into turmoil. 

Protesters gathered in front of the Myanmar Embassy in the capital’s Shinagawa Ward and chanted slogans such as, “Release our leader” and “We will win.”

Organizers said approximately 600 people attended the rally, including workers living in Tokyo and Gunma Prefecture as well as students.

Many flashed a three-finger salute, a symbol of solidarity and resistance. 

Some of the protesters wore handcuffs to protest the imprisonment of deposed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, while others beat on pans.

A 32-year-old participant, who has lived in Japan for nine years and whose parents have been missing after the Myanmar military attacked their village, said, “I want children who have lost their homes and fled to the mountains to be rescued.”

In Osaka, about 90 people gathered at a park in the city's Kita Ward.

The organizer said the protesters urged the Japanese government to take a strong position against the Myanmar military and to recognize the National Unity Government as a legitimate government.

The protesters rallied on the streets in central Osaka and chanted things such as, “Freedom for Myanmar” and “Abolish the military dictatorship.”

A 32-year-old participant, who came from Hirakata, Osaka Prefecture, and lost close friends after the coup, said, “I can’t return to Myanmar because I will be arrested. I want to help as much as I can from Japan.”

(This article was compiled from reports by Ari Hirayama in Tokyo and Takuya Asakura and Tetsuaki Otaki in Osaka.)