efe-epaTokyo

Japan Friday termed the ongoing political and economic crisis in Venezuela as deplorable and called for quick and responsible measures to address it.

"In Venezuela, the deterioration of the economic and social situation has seriously affected its people's lives and there are many Venezuelan people who are forced to leave the country. Such situation is deplorable," said a statement by Japan's foreign ministry.

"Japan considers that responsible measures should be swiftly taken to address the situation. In addition, Japan will continue to provide necessary support in cooperation with neighboring countries of Venezuela," said Foreign Press Secretary Takeshi Osuga in the statement.

The Latin American country has been steeped in a political crisis after opposition leader and president of the National Assembly Juan Guaido proclaimed himself interim president of the country on Wednesday.

Guaido had cited articles 233, 333 and 350 of the 1999 constitution as justification and claimed that Nicolas Maduro - whom many in the opposition described as a dictator - had "usurped" his position by being sworn in as president following what they called an illegitimate election.

The country has also been rocked by violent pro and anti-Maduro protests since Monday.

The crisis further deepened on Wednesday after US president Donald Trump had recognized Guaido as the legitimate leader, following which Maduro ordered all American diplomatic personnel to leave the country in 72 hours.

Brazil, Canada and other Latin American countries such as Argentina, Colombia and Chile have also expressed their support for Guaido.

Russia, Mexico and China had, however, backed the Maduro-led government.

"Japan urges that the will of Venezuelan people seeking recovery of democracy based on its constitutional order should be respected," Osuga said.

"Japan hopes that democracy in Venezuela will be recovered peacefully with a broad participation of the Venezuelan people," he added.

Venezuela, an oil-rich country, has been hammered by lower global oil prices and economic sanctions imposed by the US and has been in recession for nearly all of Maduro's time in office, who had taken over after predecessor Hugo Chavez's death in 2013.