THE Japanese government, cool to Moscow because of a land dispute, has agreed to an emergency meeting of industrial powers on propping up Russia's beleaguered economic reforms.
A top representative of Russian President Boris Yeltsin is expected to attend the meeting of the Group of Seven (G-7) industrialized nations, to be held in Hong Kong this weekend, a Japanese official said yesterday.
Tokyo had hoped to put off discussion of the Russian crisis until the annual G-7 summit meeting scheduled for July in Tokyo. Japan has withheld large-scale aid to Moscow because of a dispute over four Russian-held islands, but it is coming under increasing pressure to review that policy as the situation in Russia deteriorates.
G-7 leaders promised a $24 billion aid package for Russia last year, but little money reached Moscow because of its failure to produce an economic restructuring agreement acceptable to the International Monetary Fund.
Without swift financial help, some Western leaders fear President Yeltsin's government could collapse under the weight of the nation's faltering economy and its annual inflation rate of 2,000 percent.