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US pressuring Japan over Tokyo’s policy towards closer ties with Russia — report

May 25, 2015, 15:45 UTC+3 TOKYO
"Washington is putting pressure on Tokyo as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed intention to continue preparations for the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Japan," the commentary reads
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© EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

TOKYO, May 25. /TASS/. The US presidential administration has started explicitly showing its discontent over the Japanese government’s policy in regard to Russia, the Kyodo news agency said in a commentary published on Monday.

"Washington is putting pressure on Tokyo as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed intention to continue preparations for the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Japan. This stance contradicts the policy of the G7 countries that are seeking to isolate Russia," the commentary reads.

According to the agency, at talks in the White House on April 28, the Japanese prime minister "noted the importance of dialogue with Moscow," and said he wanted "the visit of the Russian president to Japan to be held this year."

In response, President Obama said the G7 countries need to exert pressure on Moscow and called for a cautious approach towards the current situation, the Japanese news agency reported.

US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel said on May 21 that he was sure that the Abe government was "committed to the principle of not pursuing business as usual [with Russia] under the current circumstances."

Abe said in his greeting message to the participants of the third Russia-Japan forum that opened in Tokyo on May 21 that he was ready to raise relations with Russia "to a new level."

"Proceeding from strategic and long-term point of view, I want to raise relations between our countries to a new level. I suggest we consistently continue efforts to solve the existing problems through dialogue and develop relations in all spheres," the message said.

In late March, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said President Vladimir Putin was not planning to visit Japan in the nearest future. "No [such visit] is planned yet," Peskov told journalists.

The Russian Foreign Ministry reported in mid-February that the diplomats of Russia and Japan confirmed at their meeting in Moscow "the importance of joint work on preparing the official visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Tokyo."

The ministry announced no possible date of Putin’s visit to Japan. Earlier, the Kremlin confirmed that the invitation from Tokyo had been received.

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