TOKYO (AFP) – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has dropped plans to host Russian President Vladimir Putin in Japan this year due to friction after Tokyo imposed sanctions on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis, reports said Tuesday.
The two countries had agreed on the Russian leader’s visit “this autumn” but Washington had asked Tokyo to postpone it, Kyodo News reported, quoting Japanese government sources.
Tokyo also sees it as important to keep in step with the West as it has joined the US and Europe in putting pressure on Russia with sanctions over the Ukraine crisis, Kyodo said.
Japan is now seeking to arrange for Putin to visit next spring or later, depending on the state of ties between Russia and the United States which are bitterly at odds over the crisis, it added.
The Sankei Shimbun also said his visit to Japan was likely to be delayed until early next year at the earliest.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) and his wife Akie leave Tokyo International Airport for the US on September 22. Abe has dropped plans to host Russian President Vladimir Putin in Japan this year due to friction after Tokyo imposed sanctions on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis – AFP
Abe and Putin, however, still hope to hold talks during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum’s summit in Beijing in November.
“Our goal has shifted from Mr Putin’s visit to Japan to holding a summit on the occasion of the APEC forum,” one of the sources said, according to Kyodo.