TOKYO, April 28 (Reuters) - Germany seeks closer ties with countries that share democratic values in the Asia-Pacific region, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Thursday (Apr 28), visiting Japan rather than top trading partner China during his first official trip to the region.

"It is no coincidence that my first trip as chancellor to this region has led today here, to Tokyo," he said. "My trip is a clear political signal that Germany and the EU will continue and intensify their engagement in the Indo-Pacific region."

In a joint news conference, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida underscored the two countries' rejection of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and warned of possible attempts also in Asia to move territorial boundaries by force.

The Ukraine crisis has highlighted Germany's energy reliance on Russia and is spurring Berlin to take security more into account in its foreign and trade policy and to strengthen ties with allies.

The first trip by Scholz's predecessor Angela Merkel to Asia was to Communist-run China, which has refrained from criticising Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

Merkel visited China twice as often as she did Japan, with German companies benefiting from booming Chinese economic growth.

Scholz's visit comes the same day that the German lower house of parliament overwhelmingly passed a petition for support to Ukraine that included a clause calling on his government to threaten China with sanctions if it seeks to circumvent western restrictions on Russia or deliver weapons.

However, a member of the business delegation accompanying Scholz warned against reading too much into the decision not to visit China, given strict COVID-19 restrictions there.