Japan recognizes Kosovo's independence from Serbia

Japan recognized Kosovo as an independent state Tuesday, amid reports of the worst violent clashes in the region since it declared independence from Serbia a month ago. "Japan hopes that Kosovo's independence will contribute to the stability of the region in the long term," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that Tokyo wished to continue friendly ties with Serbia. Japan joins 25 other countries, including Britain and the United States, in recognizing an independent Kosovo, according to the ministry. On Monday, Serb demonstrators in Kosovo attacked international peacekeepers with rocks, grenades and Molotov cocktails, setting off the worst violence in Kosovo since the Feb. 17 declaration of independence.