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Myanmar Crisis

Myanmar sanction fears weigh on foreign companies after coup

Thai and Japanese firms that bet on democratization face uncertain future

Low production costs and a nascent domestic market made Myanmar an attractive bet for Thai and Japanese companies. (Source photos by Keiichiro Asahara and Kosaku Mimura)

BANGKOK/TOKYO -- Japanese and Thai companies began flocking to Myanmar a decade ago, betting that its tentative embrace of democracy would open up an untapped market. Now the military coup threatens to throw long-nurtured business plans into disarray.

The risk for foreign companies, which have been eager to use Myanmar as a production base as well as tap its nascent domestic market, is threefold: the possibility that the U.S. and Europe will reimpose sanctions on the Southeast Asian country, the reputational risk of doing business under a military regime, and policy uncertainty.

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