Japan conveys to U.N. its interest in joining Syria peace conference

Ambassador Motohide Yoshikawa conveyed Japan's interest in participating in the Syria peace conference in Geneva in January to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in their meeting held Friday, Yoshikawa told reporters.

The Japanese ambassador to the United Nations said Tokyo's wish to join the meeting, dubbed Geneva II, has already been communicated to Ban as well as to Lakhdar Brahimi, the special envoy to Syria of the United Nations and the Arab League. The latest move by Yoshikawa is intended to reiterate its call.

The United States, Russia and the United Nations are working together to draw up a list of participants for the conference, at which they hope representatives from the Syrian government, rebel groups and concerned countries will sit down together and talk. Ban said he would take note of Japan's wish to participate, according to Yoshikawa.

"Expectations are growing about what Japan can do, given that Japan has never administered colonies in the Middle East," Yoshikawa said. "Another important benefit (of having Japan as a participant) is Tokyo's very good relations with Iran," a country close to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government, he said.