Japan urges intl. community not to strain ties with Iran

February 15, 2006 - 0:0
TOKYO (IRNA) -- Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso here On Tuesday called on the international community to take extra effort not to strain ties with Iran, saying it would be in Tokyo's interest and that of stability for the Middle East.

He made the remark while talking to reporters ahead of an upcoming three-day visit by Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki to Tokyo starting Feb 27.

He noted Japan's great dependence on Iranian oil, adding that a crisis affecting its relations with Iran could have more serious consequences on the country than on others.

Meanwhile, Japan's chief cabinet secretary and government spokesman Shinzo Abe described Iran as an influential state in global energy sources.

Tokyo intends to inform the Iranian foreign minister of the concerns of the international community over Tehran's nuclear program.

Japan and Iran enjoy friendly relations and Japan is the only country in a position to voice the concerns of European states to Iran over its nuclear program, he said.

According to a press release issued by Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mottaki, during his upcoming visit, is scheduled to meet with his Japanese counterpart and other senior officials.

The two sides will discuss latest regional and international developments in addition to the nuclear issue.

The ministry expressed hope the visit would further bolster Tehran-Tokyo cooperation.

Mottaki was Iran's ambassador to Japan from 1995 to 1999.

Also German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier will visit Japan from Feb. 20-22 and hold talks with his Japanese counterpart, Japan's foreign ministry said on Tuesday, Xinhuanet reported.

The talks between the foreign ministers are expected to cover the two countries' attempt to gain permanent seats of the UN Security Council and the Iranian nuclear issue, Kyodo News quoted ministry officials as saying.