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Japan concerned about France's sale of warships to Russia
29 July 2014 12:35

Japan is concerned about France's planned sale of two warships to Russia, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Monday.

Japan "is closely watching (the planned sale) with interest," Kishida told Le Drian in a meeting in Tokyo, according to a Foreign Ministry official.

Russia plans to deploy one of the amphibious assault ships to the Far East.

Le Drian responded by explaining France's position about the delivery of the Mistral-class carriers capable of launching helicopter, tank and missile attacks, the official said.

Despite objections from the United States and other countries, France appears determined to hand over the first of the two vessels.

French President Francois Hollande was quoted by Western media as saying the first warship would be delivered as scheduled in October, but a decision on the second would depend on Russia's attitude.

In the meeting with Kishida, Le Drian supported a July 1 decision by the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense.

The two ministers reaffirmed close cooperation among the Group of Seven industrialized nations in ensuring a full international investigation into the downing of a Malaysian airliner on July 17 in an area of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russia separatists.

The G-7 groups Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.

==Kyodo

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