Japan will join the other Group of Eight nations in supporting a possible easing of economic sanctions against Pakistan that are preventing international loans from being made to the debt-plagued country.

The spokesman said Japan supports new loans from the International Monetary Fund to Pakistan in light of certain positive developments in its stance toward nuclear nonproliferation, and that Japan is urging the group to join its stance. The developments were reportedly conveyed in a letter from Pakistani Foreign Minister Gohar Ayub Khan to Foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi.

Pakistan was slapped with sanctions by the G-8 after it carried out nuclear tests in May to retaliate against similar testing by neighbor and arch-enemy India.

Obuchi said Japan will re-examine ways to deal with yen loans to Pakistan, which have been frozen since May to protest the country’s nuclear testing, and that loans for humanitarian assistance are exceptions.

Foreign Ministry officials said the only way Japan would change its national stance against loans to Pakistan would be if Pakistan committed itself to nuclear nonproliferation and signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Obuchi added that Japan realizes Pakistan is facing economic difficulties after major countries imposed economic sanctions upon it, and that the government will exchange views with other nations that are also considering easing sanctions.

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