Tokyo, March 17 (Jiji Press)–Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s conciliatory stance toward Russian President Vladimir Putin did not produce results for Japan, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Thursday.
Kishida also ruled out changes to the government’s fiscal 2022 draft budget regarding economic cooperation with Moscow.
At a meeting of the Budget Committee of the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of Japan’s parliament, Kishida said that the Abe administration “unfortunately did not meet its target” of making progress in negotiations to resolve the two countries’ territorial dispute and conclude a World War II peace treaty.
The comment came in response to a question by Renho of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, who said that Abe had cozied up to Putin during his tenure.
As prime minister, Abe met with Putin a total of 27 times, including in Yamaguchi Prefecture, western Japan, where Abe’s electoral district is located.
Renho noted that Abe attended the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games even as Western leaders skipped the event as a protest against human rights issues in Russia.
She also mentioned Abe’s memorable remark made in a speech at an international meeting in Vladivostok in the Russian Far East in 2019.
“Vladimir, you and I envisage the same future,” Abe said in the speech. “Let the two of us, Vladimir, join our forces to run, dash, and then dash more until we reach the goal, shall we not?”
Asked if Japan reached “the goal,” Kishida told Renho that the efforts did not produce results.
Renho demanded that Kishida either freeze or transfer to Ukraine aid the money earmarked for Japan-Russia economic cooperation projects in the draft budget for the fiscal year from April.
But Kishida declined to make such amendments.