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Saturday 20 September 2014

Japan imposes sanctions on Russia

Published 18/03/2014 | 08:07

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Fumio Kishida (left), pictured with Foreign Secretary William Hague, said Japan does not recognise Crimea's referendum

Japan has imposed some modest sanctions on Russia for its recognition of Crimea as an independent state.

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They include suspending talks on relaxing visa requirements between the two countries and talks on investment, space exploration and military cooperation.

Foreign minister Fumio Kishida said today that Japan does not recognise the outcome of Crimea's referendum to split from Ukraine, saying it violates the Ukrainian constitution.

"It is regretful that Russia's recognition of the independence of Crimea interferes with the integrity of Ukraine's sovereignty and territory," he said.

"We cannot overlook Russia's attempt to change the status quo by force."

The moves are seen as mild compared to sanctions by the US and EU, which have frozen the assets of individuals linked to the unrest in Crimea or who support the region's vote to secede from Ukraine.

But Japanese officials said an investment seminar sponsored by private institute but also backed by both governments that is scheduled for tomorrow was still on.

Ties between Russia and Japan have been strained for decades due to a dispute over a cluster of Russian-controlled islands off the northern island of Hokkaido called the southern Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan.

The dispute has kept the two countries from signing a peace treaty after the Second World War.

But last month, prime minister Shinzo Abe said that negotiations toward forging a treaty were accelerating. He is also eager to unleash new trade and energy business with Russia that has been hung up by the dispute.

Mr Kishida urged Russia to comply with international laws, withdraw the recognition of Crimea's independence and not move further toward its annexation.

Press Association

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