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Japan Cancels Millions in Aid to Burma Over Crackdown


Japan has canceled nearly five million dollars in aid to Burma over the military government's crackdown that resulted in the shooting death of a Japanese journalist.

Japan's Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura said Tuesday that the move reflected the present situation in Burma and last week's UN Security's Council's statement criticizing the crackdown.

Japanese video journalist Kenji Nagai was killed September 27th while filming the crackdown on protesters in Rangoon.

Officials say the canceled grants - worth four-point-seven million dollars - were intended to fund the construction of a human resources center in Burma.

On Monday, the European Union decided to impose an import embargo on timber, gems and precious metals from Burma in response to the military government's crackdown on demonstrators.

In a statement released after Monday's meeting in Luxembourg, European foreign ministers said the seriousness of the situation in Burma has made it necessary to increase direct pressure on its military rulers.

They said the new measures are designed to target those responsible for the violent crackdown, and will not harm the general population.

Britain's Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the EU would offer economic incentives and support if Burma participates in a UN-brokered dialogue with its opponents. But he threatened further sanctions if Burma's government refuses to cooperate.

UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari is on a visit to Southeast Asia to gather support for political reconciliation in Burma.

Gambari is set to return to Burma in mid-November.

Burmese authorities opened fire on thousands of anti-government demonstrators in Rangoon last month. Since then, authorities have arrested thousands of monks and activists, and many are believed to have been killed.

Information for this story is provided by AP, AFP, and Reuters.

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