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In a surprise move, Japan announced Friday it will expel eight Russian diplomats and trade representatives, a significant policy change that will likely prompt a similar move from Moscow.

The Foreign Ministry made the announcement ahead of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s news conference apparently to soften how the news will be received in Moscow. During the news conference Friday evening, Kishida did not speak at length about the expulsion of the diplomats, merely saying that Japan made the decision after “comprehensive judgment.”

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