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Senior Japanese politician to visit Russia in November to discuss Ukraine crisis

September 24, 2014, 10:42 UTC+3 TOKYO
The Japanese-Russian relations are currently in an uneasy situation, deputy chairman of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party Masahiko Komura says
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© ITAR-TASS/Yury Smityuk

TOKYO, September 24. /ITAR-TASS/. The deputy chairman of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is expected to visit Russia in November for talks with Russian government officials, including on the Ukrainian crisis.

Masahiko Komura, who formerly led the Japanese Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry, told reporters on Wednesday that during his visit he plans to “meet with representatives of the Russian government”, including with State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin.

“The Japanese-Russian relations are currently in an uneasy situation, and it would be good if the meeting with the Russian politicians helped to improve them somehow,” Komura said, adding that he “would like to hold a frank exchange of views on the Ukrainian issue.”

The 72-year-old politician heads a cross-party association of Japanese lawmakers for friendship with Moscow and also leads the delegation of the country’s famous Budokan martial arts group, that is due to perform in Russia in November.

Japan's sanctions vs Russia

Last week, Japan decided to delay the announcement of a new round of sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis. The postponement signals that Tokyo is unlikely to support harsher sanctions and wants to keep a diplomatic door open with Moscow, analysts believe.

In early August, Japan published the names of 40 individuals and two organizations that fell under the sanctions. The sanctions list includes Crimean officials, representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics and two Crimean companies. Japan has also banned all imports of goods produced in Crimea.

Tokyo imposed the first round of sanctions against Russia in mid-March, when Crimea officially reunited with Russia. Japan also suspended consultations with Russia on possible facilitation of the visa regime and postponed the conclusion of three treaties with Russia — on investment cooperation, cooperation in space exploration and prevention of dangerous military activity.

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