Moscow has banned Tokyo officials from entering Russia over Ukraine crisis
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has been included on a list of sanctioned persons issued by Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday. The measure comes in response to an “unprecedented anti-Russian campaign” led by Kishida’s administration, the ministry points out.
Moscow has blacklisted 63 officials and public figures, with the country’s foreign minister, minister of defense, finance and justice ministers among them. They all are banned from entering Russia.
The foreign ministry blames Tokyo for “unacceptable rhetoric towards the Russian Federation, including defamation and direct threats,” which are “repeated by public figures, experts and representatives of the Japanese media, and completely subjected to the Western bias” towards the country.
Since Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine in late February, Japan supported Western sanctions imposed against Moscow, including freezing Russian individuals’ assets, banning imports of certain goods and phasing out imports of coal (which covers about 11% of the country’s coal needs.)
In March, amid worsening relations, Russia ended an arrangement dating back to 1991 that allowed Japanese citizens to visit the Kuril Islands without a visa and has broken off talks with Japan on formally ending the Second World War, citing Tokyo’s “openly unfriendly” conduct. The two states never formally concluded a peace treaty after WWII, due to the dispute over the four southernmost islands in the Kuril chain, which Japan calls its “Northern Territories.”