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US, Japan Condemn Burma's Crackdown on Demonstrators


The leaders of the United States and Japan have condemned the crackdown by Burma's military government on pro-democracy demonstrations in September.

President Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda made remarks Friday at the White House after holding talks.

The president said he and Mr. Fukuda are calling on the Burmese military government to release pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and all other political prisoners. Aung San Suu Kyi is under house arrest.

Mr. Fukuda said Japan is working with Burma's government on democratization and improvements in human rights.

Japan canceled nearly five million dollars in aid to Burma because of the government's crackdown, which resulted in the shooting death of a Japanese journalist.

Meanwhile, First Lady Laura Bush issued a statement Friday, praising the Jewelers of America and member companies such as Tiffany and Cartier for opposing the importation of Burmese gems.

Mrs. Bush called for a global boycott of gems from Burma, urging companies to shun a gem show in Rangoon. In the statement, she said the sale of gems is the Burmese government's third largest source of revenue.

She also said that every stone bought, cut, polished and sold from Burma helps sustain what she called an "illegitimate, repressive regime."

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