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Japan FM not linking Russian PM's trip to Kurils to Kishida’s visit to Moscow - diplomat

August 23, 2015, 1:34 UTC+3 TOKYO
"A visit by the Japanese foreign minister has not been announced. It is impossible to postpone something which has not been announced," the source said
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© Brendan Smialowski/Pool Photo via AP

TOKYO, August 22. /TASS/. Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida has not handed any protest notes to the Russian ambassador to Japan, Evgeny Afanasiev, and the Japanese Foreign Ministry is not linking Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's visit to the Kuril Islands, a source in the Russian embassy in Japan said on Saturday.

"Two conversations have indeed taken place today," the source told TASS. "The first one was a phone call by the director general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's European Affairs Bureau, Hajime Hayashi, and the second one was a meeting with Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida."

The Russian diplomat stressed that "a protest note has not been handed over to the ambassador", while the meeting with Kishida focused not so much on Medvedev's visit to the Kurils, but rather on "the complex of the Russian-Japanese relations".

"The sides have outlined their vision of the situation. And we can say for sure that the Japanese side is not linking the Russian premier’s trip to Kishida’s possible visit to Moscow," the diplomat said, adding that "a date for the Japanese foreign minister’s visit has not yet been set but negotiations continue".

Japanese media reported on Saturday that following Medvedev’s visit to Iturup Island, Russia's ambassador in Tokyo was summoned to meet the Japanese foreign minister who handed over a protest note to him. According to media reports, the Japanese government also decided to postpone Kishida’s visit to Russia planned for the end of August, for the same reason.

A source at the Russian foreign ministry, commenting on statements from representatives of the Japanese foreign ministry about Kishida's postponed trip, said it was impossible to postpone something if it had not been announced.

"A visit by the Japanese foreign minister has not been announced. It is impossible to postpone something which has not been announced," the source said.

Kishida’s visit to Russia was originally planned for last spring. However, the plans were not fulfilled due to events in Ukraine and Tokyo’s joining Western sanctions against Russia. This trip is considered as a very important part of preparations for the Russian president’s visit to Japan.

Tokyo has not confirmed its timeframe since last year, although it sent a respective invitation to Moscow a long time ago.

In early July, the Japanese government sent to Moscow foreign ministry official Hajime Hayashi to discuss plans for Kishida’s trip to Russia. Tokyo said the aim was to create a favourable atmosphere for Putin’s visit to Japan.

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