TOKYO (Sputnik) – The United States are exerting pressure on Japan, which leads to narrowing of dialogue between Moscow and Tokyo, Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
"Japan narrowed our contacts and curtailed the work in bilateral direction, under the pressure and insistent recommendations of the United States, " Zakharova told the RT broadcaster, responding to a request to comment on the Japanese media reports that US President Barack Obama called Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, asking him not to come to Russia.
#Lavrov: Overall the upcoming Russian-Japanese summit agenda looks very dense both in terms of bilateral and international issues— MFA Russia (@mfa_russia) 15 April 2016
Japan’s officials have been recommended not to pay or exchange visits to or with Russia "in a rather harsh manner" before, she noted.
"However, the official Washington spokesman has recently said… that if one contact with Russian officials takes place, then it’s alright, thus giving the go-ahead," Zakharova added.
#Lavrov: We would like to see Russia and Japan move from just exchanging opinions to coordinating approaches to urgent international issues— MFA Russia (@mfa_russia) 15 April 2016
Japan is currently a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, and its membership in the major UN body on a permanent basis as a possible outcome of the Security Council’s reform is a very important topic for the country, she stressed.
"They are really very actively trying to become a permanent member of the Security Council in the course of a reform," Zakharova emphasized.
His visit to Tokyo comes in preparations for Abe’s possible arrival in Russia. The date of Abe’s visit has not yet been disclosed.
Ties between two countries deteriorated after Tokyo announced support for certain Western economic sanctions against Russia imposed in 2014 over Moscow's alleged interference in the eastern Ukrainian conflict. Russia has resolutely denied the accusations.