Japan, former Soviet states agree to boost ties

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, third from right, and his counterparts from five Central Asian countries attend a joint press conference in Tokyo on Saturday.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and his counterparts from five Central Asian countries agreed Saturday to strengthen their countries’ ties, with a view to reducing Central Asia’s dependence on China and Russia.

At their meeting in Tokyo, the ministers also affirmed the significance of international order based on the rule of law, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s hegemonic moves in mind.

The five — Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan — are former Soviet members and still under Russia’s strong influence.

China is also deepening its political and economic involvement in Central Asia, viewing the region as a key to its Belt and Road economic zone initiative.

Meanwhile, Japan established a dialogue framework with the five Central Asian countries in 2014, under which their foreign ministers have been holding talks.