Japan is calling on Burma's military rulers to release opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and expedite the country's democratization process.
The statement from the Japanese foreign ministry echoes other international criticism of Burma's decision to extend the house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi for another six months.
Monday, the United States said the extension is another step in the "wrong direction" for Burma's military rulers.
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he is deeply disappointed in the decision, which he said is not in the interest of Burma's national reconciliation and democratization.
The European Union also strongly criticized the extension of Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest. She has spent at least ten years in confinement since her first detention 16 years ago.
Information for this report is provided by AFP.