Japan To Follow US Policy on Lithuania

A DESIRE in Tokyo not to offend the West during the Gulf crisis and to keep Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in power has led Japan to avoid taking an independent initiative towards Moscow after the Soviet military crackdown in Lithuania. Instead Japan will follow the US and European lead, officials and diplomats said Monday. While the European Community and United States expressed regret, they have not changed their policy toward Moscow, said a Japanese official.

Japan might reconsider its aid policy toward the Soviet Union if Mr. Gorbachev was found to have ordered the crackdown, Chief Cabinet Secretary Misoji Sakamoto said.

``If the military action in Lithuania was taken by direct order of President Gorbachev, we'll have to reconsider our aid policy towards [Moscow],'' Mr. Sakamoto told reporters.

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