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The government on Tuesday imposed economic sanctions on Yugoslavia and Serbia to protest Serbian violence against Albanians in Kosovo.

“It is regrettable that a number of civilians, including women, children and the aged, have been killed or assaulted in Kosovo since February under the name of the suppression of terrorist activities,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Kanezo Muraoka told a regular news conference.

The government’s moves entailed suspending Japanese investment in Serbia and freezing the two countries’ Japan-based funds. “The government decided to take the action to contribute to efforts made by the international community seeking a political solution to the Kosovo conflict,” Muraoka said.

Last week, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and the United States agreed to suspend new investments in Serbia. Japan agreed to go along with the plan during a meeting of the Group of Eight foreign ministers held afterward.

In addition, Muraoka said Tokyo will maintain its restrictions on the issuance of visas to Yugoslav and Serbian government officials, who are believed to be responsible for the military crackdown targeting separatists in Kosovo.

Japan also will continue to refrain from extending export credits to Yugoslavia.

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