Japan, United States to continue Russia sanctions and Ukraine support, Kishida says

By Sakura Murakami

HIROSHIMA, Japan (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has agreed with U.S. President Joe Biden to continue sanctions against Russia and support of Ukraine, Kishida told reporters as the two leaders met in the Japanese city of Hiroshima on Thursday.

Leaders of Japan and the United States met ahead of a broader summit of the Group of Seven nations (G7) who gather in Hiroshima on May 19-21 to discuss a wide range of topics from climate change and food security to tightening sanctions on Russia.

"We are in unison about working closely with like-minded countries including the G7 members, and we agreed to continue strict sanctions against Russia as well strong support for Ukraine," Kishida told reporters.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is expected to join a G7 session on Sunday via a teleconference, according to Kishida. In addition to the United States and Japan the G7 comprises Britain, Canada, France, Germany and Italy.

The White House said in a statement earlier on Thursday that Biden and Kishida discussed ways to strengthen defense cooperation and counter coercive behaviour by China.

"We will also continue to work closely regarding various issues concerning China, and agreed to work together on common challenges involving China," Kishida added.

(Reporting by Sakura Murakami; Writing by Katya Golubkova; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)