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Japan’s stance on Skripal case in many respects similar to Russia’s — envoy

April 03, 10:47 UTC+3 TOKYO

On March 21, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said following talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov that it was necessary to find out the facts in the Skripal case first of all

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TOKYO, April 3. /TASS/. The Japanese government’s position on the incident involving former Russian military intelligence Colonel Sergei Skripal who had been poisoned in Salisbury, the UK, is to a large extent similar to Russia’s opinion, Russian Ambassador to Japan Mikhail Galuzin said on Tuesday.

"The Japanese government’s point of view on that case has some common points with Russia’s stance," he told Japanese reporters at a news conference in the Russian diplomatic mission. According to the ambassador, the issue at hand is, in particular, that "the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable," and that "it is necessary to clarify the circumstances" of the incident.

On March 21, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said following talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov that it is necessary to find out the facts in the Skripal case first of all. A similar point of view was expressed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a telephone call with UK Prime Minister Theresa May on March 20.

The Russian ambassador also noted that the Japanese media failed to convey information on the underlying cause of Russia’s stance concerning the Skripal case to their audiences. "The issue has been extensively covered by the Japanese media. The fact that Russia rejects its involvement in that incident is mentioned in Japanese media outlets. However, I believe that [the information] on what lies at the heart of this stance, fails to reach Japanese readers," he said.

Salisbury incident

On March 4, former Russian military intelligence Colonel Sergei Skripal, 66, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain and was later swapped for Russian intelligence officers, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found unconscious on a bench near the Maltings shopping center in Salisbury, UK. Police said they had allegedly been exposed to a nerve agent.

London immediately accused Russia of being involved, but failed to produce any evidence. British Prime Minister Theresa May rushed to blame Russia for "unlawful use of force" against her country. She identified the alleged substance used in the attack as the so-called Novichok nerve agent, allegedly developed in the former Soviet Union. Subsequently, the UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats and announced other restrictive measures against Moscow. Russia has flatly rejected these allegations pointing out that neither the Soviet Union nor Russia had any programs to develop that substance.

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