Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will not attend an official ceremony in Moscow on May 9 to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II due to a schedule conflict, according to the nation's top government spokesman.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference on April 28 that Japan's ambassador to Russia will attend the ceremony instead.
Japan has invited Russian President Vladimir Putin for a visit but it was put off last year because of the conflict in southeast Ukraine.
Suga also said the rescheduling of Putin's visit has not been decided.
Eyeing Russia's energy resources, Abe had made improving ties with Moscow a priority.
But Japan has followed the United States and European Union in imposing sanctions on Moscow for stoking unrest in Ukraine and annexing Crimea.