Japan Keeps Its Options Open, Will “Continue Dialogue With Putin”
July 21, 2014 • 9:49AM

Japan has long realized that the development of far-eastern Russia, Siberia, could provide marvelous opportunities for Japanese business, and has mostly supported Western sanctions against Russia in a cool, half-hearted manner...

In fact, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe brags that he has held summit meetings with President Vladimir Putin 5 times in the past year and a half.

While Japan “will cooperate in efforts to determine the details behind the shooting-down of the Malaysia Airways passenger plane,” according to Japan’s official broadcaster NHK, Abe made clear on Saturday that “he will continue dialogue with Putin” in the context of engaging Russia “in various international issues as a responsible country.”

Perhaps as a sign of Japanese sincerity, NHK went as far reporting a Russian view of the MH17 situation: “Russia’s state-run television has aired a report asserting that alleged evidence presented by Ukraine to prove the involvement of pro-Russians in the downing of a Malaysia Airlines jet is false.

“The report broadcast on Saturday addressed two pieces of evidence. One is an alleged intercepted telephone conversation in which a pro-Russian militant talks to a Russian military officer about shooting down the plane. ... The [Russian] report says the state-run TV asked an audio expert to analyze the audio and they found the voices had been edited and fabricated.

“The other is a video allegedly showing a truck carrying a missile launcher from eastern Ukraine moving towards the border with Russia. ... The TV report pointed to a car advertisement on a billboard seen in the footage. It said the ad indicates the video was taken at an area away from the border area.”