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Published: Tuesday March 25, 2014 MYT 3:01:20 PM
Updated: Tuesday March 25, 2014 MYT 3:02:54 PM

Japan foreign minister likely to postpone Russia visit - media

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida is likely to postpone a visit to Russia planned for April, Japanese Jiji news agency said on Tuesday citing government sources, as Tokyo's ties with Moscow grow chilly after Russia's seizure of Crimea.

An official at the Russian section of Japan's Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the news.

This comes a day after leaders of the Group of Seven nations, including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, suspended Russia's participation in the G8, warning Moscow that it faced economic sanctions if President Vladimir Putin takes further action to destabilise Ukraine.

Abe has made better ties between Tokyo and Moscow a priority since returning to power 15 months ago and has met Putin five times, despite a territorial dispute dating from World War Two.

But following Russia's annexation of Crimea, Japan has sided with the United States and its G7 allies. Abe himself condemned the move in parliament and the government suspended talks on an investment pact and the relaxation of visa requirements.

(Reporting by Antoni Slodkowski; Editing by Michael Perry)

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