Japan: Question of Putin Attending Next G7 Summit is 'Still Open'

The secretary general of Japan's government has said it hasn't yet reached a decision on whether or not to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to the next G7 meeting, which will be held in the city of Shima on May 26-27 next year.

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The issue of Russian President Vladimir Putin's invitation to the summit of the G7 nations, which will be held in Japan on May 26-27, 2016, remains open, said the secretary general of the Japanese Government Ёsihide Suga during a news conference.

In response to a question on Mr. Putin's attendence, Suga said the Japanese government is considering whether or not to issue an invitation to the Russian President, RIA Novosti reported.

"Well, how do you say ... the question remains open,” Suga told reporters.

Earlier this month, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that the city of Shima, situated on a peninsula in Mie Prefecture, would be the venue for the G7 summit in 2016. At the time, Mr. Abe stressed that Japan intends to "promote the meaningful participation" of President Putin in the summit. Abe said that Russia's participation in the talks is necessary if an agreement is to be reached on major international issues, such as the Syrian crisis, Iran's nuclear program, and the reduction of tensions on the Korean peninsula.

The date of the summit was agreed upon by the leaders of the G7 nations, Suga said. He added that the decision also took into account the fact that Shima's rainy season begins in June.

The previous G7 summit was held from June 7-8 this year at the Schloss Elmau Castle in Germany. The G7 group of nations was formally expanded to the “G8” with the inclusion of Russia in 1998, but last year, against the backdrop of the events in the Crimea, the other representatives of the group decided not to participate in the scheduled G8 summit in Sochi. Instead, they gathered for an emergency meeting in Brussels, Belgium, where they decided to expel Russia from the group.

Currently, the G7 group of nations is composed of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S.

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