TAMURA, FUKUSHIMA PREF. – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Saturday his government will inform Russian President Vladimir Putin of the unified policy adopted by Japan, the United States and the European Union on the Ukraine crisis.
The government plans to send Shotaro Yachi, head of the secretariat of the National Security Council, to Russia soon, Abe told reporters during a trip to Tamura, Fukushima Prefecture.
Abe spoke on the phone with U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday and the two agreed to work closely in dealing with the ongoing developments in Ukraine. The country’s political turmoil has rapidly escalated into possibly the worst geopolitical crisis since the Cold War ended.
“Japan, the United States and the EU will work together in order to solve the crisis peacefully through diplomacy,” Abe said Saturday.
It is important that the Group of Seven major industrialized countries exchange opinions and take coordinated action, he added.
Earlier this week, the G-7 member countries — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States — issued a joint statement condemning Russia’s “clear violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.” Moscow is believed to have sent thousands of troops pouring into the Crimean region of Ukraine.
The United States and the EU have imposed or threatened sanctions against Russia over the military intervention, but so far Moscow is resisting the pressure.
Abe noted he held five summit talks with Putin in his first year in office and that Tokyo and Moscow have been communicating through foreign minister- and working-level meetings.
“Japan wants to play a role in improving the situation in Ukraine,” he added.
The Abe government is cautious about imposing sanctions against Russia due to concerns of the effect on bilateral negotiations over four Russian-held islands off Hokkaido that Japan has claimed since the end of World War II.
Abe stopped short of referring to the U.S. and European sanctions imposed Saturday against Russia.
The prime minister was visiting Fukushima to take a firsthand look at reconstruction work since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear disaster.