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Tokyo refrains from commenting Russia’s offer to join relief operation in Syria

August 26, 2016, 19:45 UTC+3 TOKYO

Earlier on Friday, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov invited counterparts from the Japanese Defense Ministry military to join the humanitarian operation in Syria's Aleppo

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© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

TOKYO, August 26 /TASS/. Japan’s Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs have refrained from comments on the Russian offer to join the humanitarian operation in Syrian Aleppo. A Japanese Foreign Ministry source told TASS that Japan was rendering financial support to Syria, Iraq and the adjacent countries, who were receiving the refugee flows, in hope of making a contribution to the conflict’s settlement.

"Along with rendering inclusive support designed to prevent the alienation and radicalization of certain groups, we also cooperate in the sphere of humanitarian support and support for the purpose of restoration. We also try to relieve the burden lying on the shoulders of recipient countries, which are inspiring the Syrians’ hope for the restoration of their future," the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.

The cost of support programs for Syria, Iraq and the adjacent countries have exceeded $1.6 billion since the start of the Syrian crisis. "We want to use this support to contribute to creating an atmosphere that could lead to the restoration and continuation of the intra-Syrian dialogue," the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.

Earlier on Friday, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov invited counterparts from the Japanese Defense Ministry military to join the humanitarian operation in Syria's Aleppo.

The Russian Defense Ministry’s press service said Antonov had extended the invitation at a meeting with Japan’s Ambassador to Russia Toyhisa Kozuki on August 25.

"The deputy head of the Russian Defense Ministry informed (his Japanese counterpart) about the Russia-initiated humanitarian operation in Aleppo and invited the colleagues from the Japanese Ministry of Defense to join the relief mission," the press service said in a statement.

The Russian deputy defense minister also briefed the Japanese diplomat on snap army exercises, which began on Thursday at the order of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"The deputy minister noted specially that the exercise was fully compliant with Russia’s international obligations," the Russian Defense Ministry press service said.

Moscow and Damascus began the joint humanitarian operation in Aleppo on July 28. A few humanitarian corridors, which both civilians and militants can use to leave the besieged city were opened. Relief aid, including food and basic necessities, is being delivered into Aleppo. The Russian Armed Forces General Staff said later that all military hostilities would stop in Aleppo for three hours every day as of August 11 to allow the passage of humanitarian convoys into the besieged city.

The UN secretary-general’s special envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura suggested establishing 48-hour pauses for aid delivery. The Russian Defense Ministry said it was ready to support the pauses and establish the first 48-hour-long pause as soon as de Mistura confirmed the relief convoys were ready to leave for Aleppo.

Japan’s Self-Defense Forces had had restricted powers until a law significantly expanding their powers came into effect on March 26, 2016. The new law adopted last September allows the Self-Defense Forces to use weapons during the UN peacekeeping operations and use the right to collective self-defense in cases when they are not directly subject to an attack.

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