The British government has canceled Prime Minister Boris Johnson's planned visit to Japan in February due to growing tensions over Ukraine and his alleged participation in COVID lockdown-breaking parties, Japanese government sources said Monday.

Tokyo and London had been arranging for his visit in mid-February for talks with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, but the sources said the British government had canceled the plan.

"It is not true that a visit by British Prime Minister Johnson is being arranged," said Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno at a regular news conference in Tokyo.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno holds a press conference in Tokyo on Jan. 31, 2022. (Kyodo)

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Matsuno added "Japan places great weight on its relations with Britain, which is a global strategic partner of our country, and hopes to strengthen ties through various efforts."

It would have been Johnson's first visit to Japan since he took office in 2019.