U.S. President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke on a teleconference and agreed to work together in tackling the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. According to Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, both leaders are of the same opinion that the latest actions by Russia to take over Crimea is a threat to international security and peace.
During the 40-minute phone call, Abe expressed support for Obama’s “efforts to improve the situation in Ukraine.” He also communicated hopes for the immediate restoration of stability in the crisis-stricken country. As both nations agreed to aid Ukraine in economic and political reforms, Japan is already looking for possible financial assistance to Ukraine through the International Monetary Fund, in which both US and Japan are huge stakeholders. However, Japan is still hopeful that Russia will initiate “political talks” with Ukraine’s new government to address the situation in Crimea. Russian troops took over the southern city of Ukraine, near the Black Sea, last week.
‘We hear an IMF mission is on the ground (in Ukraine). We think the specific amount of (overall) fiscal assistance will be known after consultations between the IMF and Ukraine,” said Kishida. “We will watch developments and determine what kind of assistance and how much our country will extend,” he added. Kishida treaded carefully on the issue of imposing sanctions on Russia. “Our country will deal with the issue appropriately while closely monitoring the situation in Ukraine and the movements of other countries,” he said. Japan has recently developed close ties with Russia, and Abe has even met with Putin several times already since he got back into power in late 2012. Japan, along with the United States and the Group of Seven countries, have denounced Russia’s intervention in Ukraine and are watching the situation unfold closely.
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