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June 11, 1999
Japan against third-party mediation in Kashmir
Japan has expressed concern over the recent developments along the Line of Control between India and Pakistan and come out against any third-party mediation to resolve the Kashmir issue.
''We are particularly concerned by the developments in Kashmir now as both India and Pakistan tested their nuclear capabilities last year,'' said Masaya Fujiwara, director of the southwest Asia division in the ministry of foreign affairs.
He said Japan was against any third-party involvement in the Kashmir issue. ''It should be resolved by both sides in accordance with the Simla Agreement. The important thing is to carry out dialogue,'' he said.
Fujiwara said the developments around the LoC in Kashmir undermined the momentum brought about by the India-Pakistan summit in Lahore in February for the normalisation of relations.
''Japan appreciates the Lahore Declaration as a positive movement to stabilise the situation in south Asia,'' a foreign ministry spokesman said.
The spokesman said the nuclear tests by India and Pakistan had strained Japan's ties with these countries. ''Our main consideration is peace and stability in the region after the May 1998 nuclear tests,'' he said.
There was some progress in India-Japan bilateral ties after New Delhi declared a moratorium on nuclear tests and its inclination to take part in the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty process, he said. ''However, Tokyo considers the missile tests by New Delhi and Islamabad undesirable,'' the spokesman said.
Fujiwara said Japan did not want bilateral ties with India to deteriorate because of nuclear factors.
In January this year, Foreign Secretary K Raghunath met his Japanese counterpart Minoru Tamba and agreed to enhance bilateral interaction at various levels.
''We have invited India's External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh, but the dates are yet to be finalised. This is aimed at strengthening political dialogue,'' Fujiwara said.
He said Defence Minister George Fernandes was also expected to visit Japan, but the details could not be worked out due to the current situation in Kashmir.
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