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Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto said Thursday that Japan will freeze new yen loans to India to protest the two nuclear tests conducted Wednesday, which came despite protests from the international community over three tests conducted two days earlier.

The measure follows a decision made Wednesday by Tokyo to freeze economic aid in the form of grants to protest the first three nuclear tests.

Hashimoto said that when the government announced the aid freeze it was praying that no further tests would be conducted.

“But India conducted the tests again. The situation is extremely regrettable,” the prime minister told reporters at his official residence shortly before leaving to Birmingham, England, to attend a summit meeting of the Group of Eight major industrialized nations.

Hashimoto went on to say that Tokyo will also take a cautious stance on loans to India from international financial institutions to help development. Additionally, Tokyo will instruct Ambassador Hiroshi Hirabayashi to immediately return to Tokyo for consultations with Foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi about future steps the government should take, Hashimoto said.

“The nuclear tests should be discussed sufficiently by leaders of the summit, and Japan will call on our summit colleagues to issue a clear and determined message to the world from the G-8,” Hashimoto said.

Meanwhile, Tokyo urged Pakistan on Thursday to practice utmost restraint in regards to India’s nuclear tests, Foreign Ministry officials said.

Nobuyasu Abe, director general for Arms Control and Scientific Affairs branch of the ministry, told Shahwar Kureshi, Pakistan’s charge d’affaires, that Japan wants Pakistan to show restraint in developing nuclear weapons, missiles and weapons for mass destruction, the officials said.

Kureshi told Abe that she will convey the message to Islamabad, they said. The United States has also been trying to persuade Pakistan not to follow India in conducting its own nuclear test.

A New York Times report said that Pakistan is preparing to respond with an underground nuclear test of its own that could take place as early as Sunday.

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