Abe says Japan willing to help in Malaysia jet crash probe

TOKYO —

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has offered Japan’s help in any international investigation into the shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines jet in eastern Ukraine.

Abe made the remarks during a speech in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, on Saturday. Abe said Japan is ready to cooperate with the international community in whatever way it can, NTV reported Sunday.

Abe also cautioned that it would not be prudent to antagonize Russia and said it is better to maintain a dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Abe has held five summits with Putin since he took office in December 2012.

Referring to Ukraine, the prime minister said the conflict should be settled through dialogue and under international law, rather than war, NTV reported.

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida returned to Japan on Friday after a four-day visit to Ukraine. Prior to the shooting down of the Malaysian plane, which the West blames on pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, the U.S., Europe and other allies ramped up sanctions against Russia.

The tug-of-war over Ukraine threatens to derail Abe’s moves toward rapprochement with Russia. Yet Japan must toe the line on sanctions: It cannot spurn its main ally the U.S., nor European partners. 

Japan’s chief government spokesman offered only vague support for the coordinated American and European moves targeting Russian energy firms, financial institutions, arms suppliers and four individuals.

“We are watching the situation of the EU and U.S.,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a regular briefing. “Working with the international community is our stance regarding Ukraine, so we would like to take appropriate measures in line with that attitude.”

Japan has imposed sanctions on Russia, but in a very limited way. It has suspended bilateral talks on some issues, and imposed an entry visa ban on 23 individuals, whom it hasn’t publicly named.

In his speech Saturday, Abe said he intends to keep a dialogue with Putin and has invited the Russian leader to make a state visit to Japan this year.

Japan Today/AP

  • 3

    Sherman

    Abe comes from Shimoniseki so must be home to see his mates like Kido san. I bet another vague nothing will come of this.

  • 3

    gaijinfo

    That's like a little five year old running after the house movers saying, "I want to help!"

  • 1

    semperfi

    the prime minister said the conflict should be settled through dialogue and under international law, rather than war

    Agreed . . . . maybe it will take this tragedy to get the Intern'l court into the picture.

  • 2

    JoeBigs

    gaijinfoJul. 20, 2014 - 04:50PM JST That's like a little five year old running after the house movers saying, "I want to help!"

    No, that's like a responsible world leader offering to help others who have been attacked by terrorists.

    Responsible nations help others, irresponsible nations try and deflect the truth.

  • 8

    plasticmonkey

    @JoeBigs

    Helping others is great, but look at the fine print:

    Japan’s help in any international investigation into the shooting down

    It's a Japanese way of saying we'll help without sticking our necks out. The Abe Gov't doesn't want to lose its business interests with Putin, and is therefore reluctant to overtly commit to sanctions. To deflect criticism, Abe is going to send some investigators. Offering to help in the investigation is easy, no more difficult for a PM than for us to order a pizza.

    If this was just part of a broader commitment, then I'd buy the sincerity, but not in this case.

  • -4

    semperfi

    plasticmonkey : It's a Japanese way of saying we'll help without sticking our necks out. The Abe Gov't doesn't want to lose its business interests with Putin, and is therefore reluctant to overtly commit to sanctions.

    Right. ... However, AS OF TODAY - no one knows exactly WHAT happened. . . There is no verifiable evidence as to WHO shot the plane down . . .So, RIGHT NOW the most important work is to to bring the bodies in, and offer any assistance that may be needed to move this investigation forward. . . And THAT is what Abe i s offering. . . It is enough for the time being.

  • -1

    smithinjapan

    JoeBiggs: "No, that's like a responsible world leader offering to help others who have been attacked by terrorists."

    That would be very true if such help were not so 'vague' and 'limited' so that Japan can still try and maintain ties with Russia. It says as much with the actions pointed out in the article itself:

    "Japan’s chief government spokesman offered only vague support for the coordinated American and European moves targeting Russian energy firms, financial institutions, arms suppliers and four individuals.... Japan has imposed sanctions on Russia, but in a very limited way."

    If they want to help, GREAT, but they need to truly stick their neck out, not offer to help in an investigation that may point to Russia and is very likely to point to Russian-supplied Pro-Russian separatists then invite Putin to Japan the same day.

  • 0

    Serrano

    "Abe said he intends to keep a dialogue with Putin and has invited the Russian leader to make a state visit to Japan this year. "

    Abe may have to withdraw that invitation if Putin doesn't admit who was involved in the shooting down of this airliner.

  • -2

    semperfi

    . but they need to truly stick their neck out,

    No they don;t . . . They need , right now, to offer help. . .it is the HUMANITARIAN thing t do. . . . Germany ,France, Switzerland among other countries also has trade with Russia, . . . . . They aren't sticking their necks out . .Besides, that NOT diplomacy- thats what you do when you want to loose.

  • 2

    Gobshite

    Abe says a lot, means little, achieves less.

  • 3

    browny1

    semperfi - why all the shouting?

    And many countries have offered assistance - nothing special about abe's offer(more a media beat up).

    And in the world of political wink - winks, nothing is ever lost by playing the game.

    And abe is in(as are others).

  • 2

    jj1067

    gaijinfoJul. 20, 2014 - 04:50PM JST That's like a little five year old running after the house movers saying, "I want to help!"

    Then how old is your president or PM or whatever? Is it any good?

  • -3

    EthanWilber

    “Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has offered Japan’s help in any international investigation into the shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines jet in eastern Ukraine.”

    Here comes the talker, again.

    Although it’s a good gesture for Abe to offer help, yet it may mostly likely end up as a lip-service as Abe often does.

    Realistically, Japan’ space satellite capability and advance radar systems are still in the realitvel low-end spectrum at this point, and FBI surely can do much better job than Japanese counterpart.

    If Abe really wants to help victims of crime in meaningfully way, I’d suggest him to join the US to put stringent sanctions on Russia.

  • 1

    Open Minded

    Semperfi: the point is not humanitarian activities (all MH17 passengers and crew are dead), the point is to allow independent investigations and Putin is doing nothing to accommodate that. That is the problem!

  • -3

    Kabukilover

    Finally something intelligent from Abe. "Abe also cautioned that it would not be prudent to antagonize Russia and said it is better to maintain a dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin." And: "Referring to Ukraine, the prime minister said the conflict should be settled through dialogue and under international law, rather than war, NTV reported." Agree with above poster: SDF has considerable experience in finding bodies and could be useful.

  • 0

    tinawatanabe

    Kabukilover You are always criticizing Abe. Is your president, either Xi or Obama or the lady president, any better?

  • 0

    toshiko

    I think he is right. "Abe says Japan willing to help in Malaysia jet crash probe". He did not say Japan willing not to help. His wife used to be a disc jockey in Shimonoseki. He was born in Nagato City in western Yamaguchi-ken. So, kind of home Prefecture he visited.

  • 0

    Open Minded

    jj1067: the area is under control of the rebels and they do not allow free access to anybody.

  • -5

    toshiko

    I am watching CNN News now. Don't know if true or not. It stated Russian made missile was shot. Right now, USA has other problems such as Israel-Hama conflict. Japan is not involved in small wars everywhere USA are engaged. It is about time Japan get involved. I mean peacefully. It seems Abe is changing image of Japan from money hungry selfish country to world helper.

  • 0

    Sidekick

    The US is still taking lead as we speak about world affair, that is why the US took steps to put pressure on Russia

    Nobody takes seriously those current steps of your leadership. Neither in Russia, nor in Japan. Business relations between Russia and Japan weren't cut after your stupid and laughable "sanctions". You became a some sort of arrogant clowns of the World.

  • 0

    toshiko

    Abe also cautioned that it would not be prudent to antagonize Russia and said it is better to maintain a dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Abe has held five summits with Putin since he took office in December 2012.

    Referring to Ukraine, the prime minister said the conflict should be settled through dialogue and under international law, rather than war, NTV reported.

    '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' Unlike current changes in re-interpretation of Japanese constitution, he is trying to help Ukline situation with dialogues. I wonder if Abe was really for reinterpretation or was fooling stubborn politicians who have no idea what war caused to Japan.

    Anyway, he has been doing right thing to promote peaceful Japan. You can not blame him for things happened in Japan before 2012.

  • 1

    Cortes Elijah

    Better then sitting around doing nothing at all.

  • 0

    jwhite2014

    You have a right to criticize Japan if your country has already imposed much heavier sanction on Russia than Japan did. I'm so sad to see people here just sitting around doing nothing but blaming Japan online for anything.

  • 0

    browny1

    toshiko - "you can not blame him for things happened in Japan before 2012".

    Well not everything - but as a former prime minister and as a senior silver spoon member of the ldp for decades, we can surely point the finger.

    Abe has currently the most sophisticated PR machine afforded by any leader in Japan on board. It's purpose is to keep the ldp in power at all costs, and will never miss an opportunity to milk as much credit from a situation as it possibly can.

    Abe is not alone in this, but the experts of experts are on his payroll.

  • 0

    toshiko

    @browny1JUL. 21, 2014 - 12:34PM JST toshiko - "you can not blame him for things happened in Japan before 2012". Well not everything - but as a former prime minister and as a senior silver spoon member of the ldp for decades, we can surely point the finger. Abe has currently the most sophisticated PR machine afforded by any leader in Japan on board. It's purpose is to keep the ldp in power at all costs, and will never miss an opportunity to milk as much credit from a situation as it possibly can. Abe is not alone in this, but the experts of experts are on his payroll.

    '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

    Having PR experts is working well. Only China and S. Korea express hatred against Japan now.

    • Moderator

      Back on topic please.

  • 0

    MyJT2014

    Mr Abe start to sound like big brother these days.

  • 0

    hkitagawa

    Yes, at least majority of countries trust in Japan!!!

  • 0

    ka_chan

    There is no way any will ask Japan for help related to MH17. Japan is not an interested party. The carrier is Malaysia, the manufacturer is US, most of the victims are Dutch(193)/US (1 dual),Malaysian (43), Australian (27), Indonesian (12), British (10)/SA dual (1), German (4), Belgium (4), Filipino (3), Canadian (1), and New Zealand-er (1). Ukraine is the country were this happened. Japan has no part of this. So to offer help is a useless gesture. The Dutch and UK are taking the lead. Do not see anything that Japan can offer that these two countries can't do. This is not a weather event, this is a crime. There is no way that you can get 100% evidence since the crime seen was contaminated, possibly deliberately. Even with proof that the plane was shot down by a Russian BUK with a Soviet 9M38 or 9M317, it will be impossible to know who ordered it or who fired it. Japan can't offer anything that can clear this up. The only thing Japan can offer is to go along with more sanction on Russia as Europe seems about to do.

  • 0

    toshiko

    When terrible Fukushima damage happened, many countries helped Japan even though it eas Japanese people and Japense TPP. It happened in Japan. That did not stop these countries to help Japan.

    It does not matter weather or crime created incidents, Japan offering aid there is right.

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