Japan eyes recognizing Kosovo as new nation

Kyodo News

Although expected to recognize Kosovo, Japan also wants to show “consideration” to Serbia, which opposed the new republic’s declaration of independence, Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura said Monday.

“Basically, we will carefully determine whether Kosovo meets (Japan’s) criteria for recognizing states . . . but in view of the progress seen over the matter, I think we are moving toward recognition,” the top government spokesman told a news conference.

He stressed that Japan has traditionally maintained “good relations” with Serbia and “a certain level of consideration is required there.”

Prior to the declaration, government sources said Japan did not intend to recognize Kosovo immediately to avoid harming its relations with Serbia and angering Serbia’s ally, Russia.

One government source said that Japan would likely begin the process of recognizing Kosovo “about a month” after it declared its independence.

According to the Foreign Ministry, for Japan to recognize a state it must establish effective political power to govern residents and have the will and ability to follow international law.

On Sunday, Kosovo’s Parliament declared the province’s independence with the support of the United States and many European Union members over staunch opposition from Serbia and Russia.