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Japan Slashes Aid to Burma After Crackdown


Japan has canceled almost $5 million in aid to Burma, in its first action against the military government since security forces cracked down on pro-democracy demonstrators in Rangoon and killed a Japanese journalist. Naomi Martig reports from VOA's Asia News Center in Hong Kong.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary, Nobutaka Machimura, says Japan has decided to withhold a $4.7 million grant for the construction of a Japan-Burma community exchange center.

Machimura says Japan is urging Burma's military government to listen to the international community and work toward democracy. Japan is one of Burma's largest aid donors.

When security forces in Rangoon fired into crowds of peaceful protesters in late September, at least 10 people were killed, including Japanese video journalist Kenji Nagai.

Burma has said Nagai's death was accidental and that he was hit by a stray bullet. Video footage of Nagai's death appears to show a soldier shooting him at close range. Japanese authorities have demanded an investigation of the incident.

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