Japan Avoids Criticizing Russia over Ukraine Issue
Tokyo, Nov. 27 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government refrains from criticizing Russia over the recent firing on and seizure of Ukrainian naval ships by Russian coast guard vessels, ahead of the start of full-fledged territorial negotiations with the Russian government.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kotaro Nogami said, "We hope that all the parties involved will exercise self-restraint and the situation will calm down." He stopped short of naming Russia.
The government holds the stance of opposing any attempts to change the status quo by force and places emphasis on freedom of navigation. But as for the latest incident, which is highly likely to raise tensions between Russia and Ukraine, Nogami only referred to the importance of watching developments and concerns over a possible deterioration in the Ukrainian situation.
Amid the United States and European countries stepping up criticism against Russia, a senior Foreign Ministry official admitted that the Russian acts represent an attempt to change the status quo by force.
Meanwhile, another senior government official showed reluctance for Japan to become involved in the problem, saying it is a faraway issue for the country.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]