Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi arrived in Japan on Tuesday to court investment and aid, as an upsurge in violence against a persecuted Muslim minority at home posed the worst crisis of her six months in power and brought U.S. criticism.
Soldiers have poured into an area of northwestern Rakhine state in a crackdown on Rohingya Muslims after an insurgent group the government believes has ties to overseas Islamists launched a series of attacks.
Soldiers have been accused of raping and killing Rohingyas during the operation.
The crisis has sharpened tension between Suu Kyi's civilian administration and the army, which ruled the country for decades and retains major powers, and criticism of her is mounting.
The U.S. State Department said last week it had voiced concern to Myanmar about the reported rapes. [ID:nL$N1D14GF].
Suu Kyi's five-day visit to Japan is the latest in a whirlwind of foreign trips promoting her country as an investment destination. She has already been to China, the United States and India.
Myanmar needs Japanese investment and robust bilateral ties as a counterweight to China, its largest trading partner.
Japan, for its part, is eager to seek opportunities in meeting Myanmar's extensive infrastructure and development needs, a Japanese foreign ministry official told reporters.