Japan could halt Myanmar aid over recent bloodshed

Japan is looking at withholding humanitarian aid to Myanmar after violence broke out in pro-democracy protests, during which a Japanese video journalist was killed. Although the Japanese government has already suspended full-scale assistance to the Southeast Asian country in 2003, it has since funded a number of emergency health projects and provided some aid to the nation. Recent developments in Rangoon, however, have prodded Japan to consider holding back around USD4.7 million in “human resources development aid” to Myanmar. “We cannot stop aid that benefits the public directly, such as that to fight polio, but we want to consider stopping assistance such as human resources development centres for now, even though they benefit the public in the long run,” said Japanese foreign minister Masahiko Komura. Even so, Japan has clarified that it will keep its policy of engagement with Myanmar, and that the Japanese government will not be suspending trade with the besieged state. (Source: Japan may halt aid for Myanmar over fatal shooting/Reuters)

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