The Japanese government was initially “cautious” about the idea of expelling Russian diplomats, as Moscow would respond in kind, and this would make it difficult for consulates to work. However, Tokyo is now changing its mind
Mikhail Galuzin at the Russian Embassy in Tokyo
Japanese authorities are discussing the possibility of expelling several Russian diplomats from the country, Fuji TV reported. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is expected to make a statement on Friday, April 8.
Fuji notes that initially the government of the country “with caution” belonged to this idea, but due to reports of civilian deaths in Ukraine, he changed his mind. The number of diplomats who could be expelled has not been specified.
April 6, the Sankei newspaper, citing a source in the Japanese government, wrote that Tokyo is unlikely to expel Russian diplomats, because due to If Moscow responds symmetrically, there will be obstacles for the work of consulates and protection of the interests of Japanese citizens in case of emergency.
On Friday, Tokyo will announce new sanctions against Moscow, which include restrictions on coal imports from Russia. According to the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Koichi Hagiuda, Japan eventually expects to completely abandon these supplies and find a replacement for them.
RBC turned to the Russian Embassy in Japan for comment.
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A new wave of expulsions of Russian diplomats from around the world began after the emergence of photographs and videos from the Ukrainian city of Bucha, which depicted dozens of dead bodies in civilian clothes. The Russian Defense Ministry called these materials a provocation, saying that the Russian military left the city on March 30 and during the time that it was under their control, none of the local residents were injured. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs considered the purpose of disseminating materials from Bucha in the media to disrupt Russian-Ukrainian negotiations. Most of the participants in the meeting of the UN Security Council, including India and China, stated the need for an international investigation of what happened.
In particular, Germany announced the expulsion of 40 diplomats, France, according to AFP,— 35, Italy— 30, Latvia and Estonia— 27. A similar decision was also reported by Spain, Denmark, Sweden and other countries. In total, about 400 Russian diplomats have been expelled since the beginning of the year, which was the maximum since 2000.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called the expulsion of diplomats an attempt to “politically” to punish Russia, the ministry promised to retaliate. Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the actions of Western countries “close the window for diplomacy.” He called the events in Bucha “a well-staged tragic show”, “to try to denigrate the Russian army”, calling the accusations against the military baseless.