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Japanese senator visiting Russia embarrasses party, government


Highlights: Japanese government does not tell citizens not to travel to Russia. Russian Foreign Ministry says it is "deeply concerned" about the situation in Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin is in the midst of a crisis with Ukraine over its annexation of Crimea. Russia has been accused of sending troops into Ukraine in violation of a U.S. Security Council resolution. The U.K. has accused Russia of using its troops in Ukraine to force its way into the Crimea region, which has been ruled by a pro-Russian government.

Pro-Russian Senator Muneo Suzuki did not inform the Japanese government of his meeting with the deputy head of Russian diplomacy. Tokyo strongly condemns the invasion of Ukraine and advises against travel to Russia.

A pro-Russian Japanese senator visited Moscow, a first since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia last year and which took the Japanese government by surprise, which criticized Tuesday, October 3, this personal initiative.

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  • Follow the news about the war in Ukraine with the application of Le Figaro

The Russian Foreign Ministry reported a one-on-one meeting on Monday between Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko and Muneo Suzuki, a senator from the opposition populist Japan Innovation Party.


The government has not been informed by Muneo Suzuki of his visit to Russia," Japanese government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno said at a regular press briefing on Tuesday. Tokyo has strongly condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine from the beginning and has adopted sanctions against Moscow like its Western allies.

Japan advises its citizens against travelling to Russia

Japan therefore advises all its citizens not to travel to Russia "for any reason," said Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa, suggesting that this instruction also applies to parliamentarians.


We are not in a position to comment on the reason for Senator Muneo Suzuki's visit to Russia and the details of his agenda," Kamikawa added.

The senator left Sunday for Moscow "for an inspection trip," his secretary Shinji Akamatsu said Tuesday, adding that he was making the trip "in the name of his own vision of the national interest." But the move also embarrasses his own party, which has said it plans to summon Muneo Suzuki on his return to explain himself.

In a statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed Muneo Suzuki's "important contribution" to the development of Russian-Japanese relations, while regretting that this long-standing bilateral cooperation is "today deliberately destroyed" by the sanctions against Russia adopted by Japan "to please the United States" and by "the anti-Russian orientation of the 'collective West'".

Politician with a sulphurous past

The 75-year-old Suzuki has long been known as a proponent of strengthening Russian-Japanese relations. He was also charged and convicted of corruption in the early 2000s, which forced him to leave the right-wing conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Japan's main ruling political party.

But this sulphurous past did not prevent him in the 2010s from becoming an informal diplomatic adviser to then-Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, when the latter again sought to warm ties with Moscow.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-10-03

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