Japan to cancel Kishida's visit to Russia


Japan is to cancel a planned visit to Russia this month by the country's foreign minister, as Tokyo closes ranks with its Western allies over Moscow's takeover of Crimea, a report said Wednesday.

Even after the cancellation of the Group of Eight meeting of foreign ministers scheduled for April 28-29, the Japanese government was still hoping to send Fumio Kishida to Moscow for talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

But that plan has been shelved over fears that Tokyo could be accused by the United States and European powers of not being tough enough on Russia, the report said.

An economy ministers' meeting focused on energy ties that was planned on the sidelines of the foreign ministerial talks will also be cancelled, it said.

Tokyo has fallen into line with Washington and its allies in tightening the screws on Moscow after its amputation of the Crimean peninsula last month, and as Russian troops remain massed on the Ukrainian border.

Involvement in the isolation of Moscow is a difficult political calculation for Japan, which is entirely dependent on imports for its energy. Russia is a key global supplier of gas.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has held multiple summits with Russian President Vladimir Putin since coming to office in late 2012, and was one of the few pro-Western leaders who attended the opening of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Others stayed away to register disquiet over Moscow's anti-gay laws.

The Japanese leader has been pushing to expand economic ties and resolve a decades-old territorial conflict at a time that Tokyo is embroiled in separate disputes with China and South Korea.

The current crisis, in which Moscow's critics accuse it of trying to redraw the Soviet empire on the modern-day map of Europe, risks derailing those efforts, including a bid to sign a treaty formally ending World War II hostilities.

Wednesday's Yomiuri report came as the U.S. Congress passed an aid package for Ukraine that includes sanctions against Russia, and after NATO said it had suspended all cooperation with Moscow.

A foreign ministry official in charge of Russian issues told AFP the government there had been no decision on the trip, but declined to comment further.

© (c) 2014 AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

The next logical step should be a ban of LNG import from Russia.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

After criticizing Russia on Crimea does any Japanese minister with a head and a right mind dare to force himself to visit the country? Just wait till the Russian Bear starts to look eastwards and then the fun truly begins? Japan is willing to go to the aid of the Philippines in the latter's confrontation with China but, will the Philippines go to the aid of Japan when it is desperate for support?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Bye-bye islands!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Bye-bye islands!

That's how it looks like. The Southern Kurile islands negotiations remain on hold - for a long time, I guess.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The Southern Kurile islands negotiations remain on hold - for a long time.

I think, the case is closed. China got some disputed territories in Amur region because China is independent. From economical and political viewpoints. And chinese will build their own facilities on re-gained soil. As for Kurils, after giving them back to Japan Russians need not to get there the US listening post, air field, missile silos or naval base.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The language of this article hides the truth about what happened on the ground in Ukraine and Crimea. This makes it sound like Russia invaded against the wishes of Crimea, which broke away overwhelmingly at the polls after the EUS-led coup to oust the democratically elected government installed a bunch of new-Nazis in Kiev. Facts are facts in this instance, and Japan is making a rather immature mistake. Clearly, Tokyo does not understand much about diplomacy.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Surrendering the Kuril Islands will be a big blow to Russian pride and could encourage territorial claims against Russia by other nations, including the Baltic states and Finland.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites