Japan’s Foreign Ministry announced on Thursday that they are postponing Fumio Kishida‘s scheduled trip to Russia which was supposed to happen later this month. While the reason given was due to scheduling conflict, the recent situation in Crimea and the sanctions imposed on Russia may have played a big part in the decision to not push through with the trip.
The Group of Seven (G7) nations, which was formerly the G8, have all imposed sanctions on Russia due to their annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. While Japan did support the sanctions, the White House has reportedly noticed that they were not as serious as those by the United States and European countries. US President Barack Obama will be visiting Tokyo next week and it is expected that this will be one of the points of discussion with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Japan is a little caught in between as the situation imploded at a time when they were seeking to better relations with Russia in the past months to resolve the territorial dispute over the Northern Territories or Kuril Islands.
But Abe emphasized at a symposium on Thursday that what is happening in Crimea is an example of why “changes to the status quo by force should not be tolerated,” in a veiled reference to the situation with neighbour China. “Countries all over the world need to securely maintain the order that respects laws,” he added. Japan and China have been in a territorial tussle over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands and Abe’s administration believes they need to give a strong response to the situation in Russia to strengthen their case against China.
[ via Reuters ]