Japan, Russia hold economic talks amid tensions over Ukraine

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Japanese and Russian governments on Tuesday held a teleconference of their trade and economic committee co-chaired by Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and Russian Economic Development Minister Maksim Reshetnikov.

The virtual meeting took place despite growing concerns about Russia’s possible invasion of Ukraine, prompting international discussions on economic and other sanctions against Russia.

During the talks, Hayashi said Japan is paying close attention to the current situation involving Ukraine, while indicating that the Asian country plans to continue dialogue with Russia.

The Japanese minister also called for the Russian side to ease tensions over Ukraine and seek a diplomatic solution to the issue.

Reshetnikov made no mention of Ukraine. He expressed Russia’s hope to further promote cooperation with Japan, noting that the bilateral economic relations are developing despite the novel coronavirus pandemic.

According to a senior Japanese Foreign Ministry official, the day’s meeting of the intergovernmental committee, which Japan and Russia agreed to set up in 1994, was held after repeated schedule changes.

On Monday, the finance ministers of the Group of Seven countries including Japan issued a joint statement showing their readiness to impose major economic and financial sanctions against Russia.

A middle-ranking official of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party said that Moscow apparently intended to divide the G-7 by holding the Japan-Russia meeting just after the G-7 statement.