As the situation between Russia and the rest of the Group of Seven nations continue to be at a stand-off, several government sources said that the planned trip of Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida later this month might be indefinitely postponed to later this year. The United States is taking a firmer stand against them because of their interference in the civil unrest in Crimea, which voted to join Russia instead of remaining with Ukraine.
The sources said that Kishida‘s trip might be moved to June or even later, depending on the outcome of the presidential elections in Ukraine which will be held on May 25. Russian President Vladimir Putin is also scheduled to visit Tokyo later this year and the government is keen on still making that happen, if only to make the first step in resolving the territorial dispute over the Northern Territories, also known as the Southern Kurils in Russia. This issue has prevented the two countries from signing an official peace declaration since the end of World War II which has resulted in them not having diplomatic relations.
The US and the other members of the G7 major industrial countries, including Britain, Canada, France, Germany and Italy, decided to boycott the G8 summit in Sochi and suspended Russia from being part of the group. Japan is in a tough position as of course it wants to support the stand of its strongest ally, the US, but at the same time, they also don’t want to derail the progress made with strengthening relations with Russia.
[ via Mainichi ]
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