Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Monday that Ukraine’s Constitution would be violated and that its territorial integrity would be challenged if a local referendum on whether Crimea should join Russia would be organized.
“We see (the referendum) against the Constitution in Ukraine and also problematic in terms of protecting territorial integrity,” the top government spokesman said, adding Japan will continue to “monitor the situation with grave anxiety and concern.”
Suga’s remarks come as the United States and other Western countries have rejected the planned vote on March 16 as unconstitutional, according to the international press which is quoting Kyodo news agency. Crimea has an ethnic Russian majority.
Japan has walked on a string between its long-time ally the United States and Russia. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin have developed close relations, although Tokyo and Moscow still have an unresolved territorial conflict.
Japan is planning to send Shotaro Yachi, head of the secretariat of the National Security Council, launched in December, to Russia to exchange views and cooperate in resolving the Ukraine crisis. But Suga declined to comment on the planned trip.
Photo credit: AFP