Japan foreign minister postpones Russia visit
Japan's foreign minister has postponed a visit to Russia due to "scheduling issues", the ministry said Thursday, as Tokyo finds itself in a delicate position over the crisis in Ukraine.
The ministry did not give a new date for a visit by Fumio Kishida, who had been due to attend a now-cancelled intergovernmental committee on trade and economic issues with first deputy prime minister Igor Shuvalov.
"With this development, Minister Kishida's visit to Russia was also postponed," the ministry said in a statement.
Tokyo has fallen into line with Washington and its allies in tightening the screws on Moscow after its annexation of the Crimean peninsula, and as Russian troops remain massed on the Ukrainian border.
But Russia is a key global gas supplier to Japan.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has held multiple summits with Russian President Vladimir Putin since coming to office in late 2012.
He was one of the few pro-Western leaders who attended the opening of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Others stayed away to register disquiet over Russia's anti-gay laws.
The Japanese leader has been pushing to expand economic ties and resolve a decades-old territorial conflict.
© 2014 AFP