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Japan foreign minister to attend NATO meeting in early April

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg arrives for a media conference ahead of a NATO summit at NATO headquarters in Brussels, on March 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi is planning to attend a meeting in Brussels with his counterparts from countries belonging to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and its partners in early April, sources with knowledge of the matter said Monday.

    Hayashi aims to affirm increased coordination with NATO over Russia's invasion of Ukraine through means such as the enforcement of sanctions on Moscow and the hosting of evacuees from the Eastern European country, according to the sources.

    Besides Japan, foreign ministers from NATO partner nations such as South Korea and Australia are expected to take part in the gathering, the sources said, adding that Hayashi is considering meeting bilaterally with other participants.

    Top diplomats to attend the upcoming meeting are expected to warn Russia not to use chemical, biological and nuclear weapons in Ukraine, the sources said, amid growing concerns over such threats as Russian forces' advances on Kyiv and other cities have stalled in the face of fierce resistance since the invasion began on Feb. 24.

    China's increasing military activities in the East and South China seas as well as waters nearby Taiwan are also likely to be among the topics, with Japan to press for enhanced vigilance over North Korea's missile and nuclear activities, according to the sources.

    In a summit last Thursday, NATO leaders agreed to boost security assistance to Ukraine so as to better help the country defend itself from Russia's aggression.

    The leaders also called on China to "abstain from supporting Russia's war effort in any way, and to refrain from any action that helps Russia circumvent sanctions" in a statement issued after the summit.

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