Kiev: The Japanese government has ordered a withdrawal of its embassy staff in the Ukranian capital of Kiev following unsuccessful efforts by Western powers to de-escalate prevailing military tensions on the border with Russia.
On Friday, Japanese nationals in Ukraine were advised to leave the country immediately and informed in an email sent by the embassy that its function will be further limited from Monday since "only a few" personnel will remain in the country, said the Japanese news agency Kyodo.
According to the Japanese government, the office of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also set up a crisis headquarters to collect and analyze information on the situation around Ukraine.
Concerns over Moscow's alleged preparations for an invasion of Ukraine have been increasingly announced in the West and in Kiev recently. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov castigated these statements as an empty and groundless escalation of tension, emphasizing that Russia posed no threat to anyone.
At the same time, the Kremlin press secretary did not exclude some possible provocations to justify such claims and warned that the attempts to resolve the Ukrainian conflict by force would carry extremely serious consequences.
Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi met with his counterparts during the Quad summit held last week, where representatives of the US, and South Korea came together to pledge to work on peacefully resolving the Ukraine issue.
In January, the Russian Embassy in Japan had hit out at what it termed "Japan's attempts to threaten Russia in the context of the situation around Ukraine with some "decisive actions in close coordination with the US and other allies." Such actions were unacceptable, senseless and counterproductive for the atmosphere of Russian-Japanese relations, the statement by the embassy said.
Japan follows the US, France and other countries who have withdrawn their citizens and diplomatic staff over American intelligence warnings of an impending attack by Russian troops massed on the border with Ukraine.