Russia bans entry of Japan PM, 62 others indefinitely

Tokyo's response to Ukraine invasion seen drawing retaliation from Moscow

Nikkei -- May 05
Russia said Wednesday it will ban the entry of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and many high-ranking officials for an indefinite period in a fresh round of sanctions against Japan, amid rising tensions between the two countries over the crisis in Ukraine.

The entry ban, announced by Russia's Foreign Ministry, targets 63 Japanese citizens, including Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi and Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno.

Widely seen as a retaliation for the Japanese government's series of punitive measures against Russia since it started attacking Ukraine in late February, the ministry accused Tokyo of launching an "unprecedented anti-Russian campaign with unacceptable rhetoric" and hurting its economy and international prestige.

Kishida rebutted Russia's announcement, telling reporters in Rome it is "unacceptable" and that Russia is completely responsible for pushing bilateral ties into the current situation.

Japanese officials believe the ban will have no impact on the government as it has had no plan to send a senior figure to Russia.

Executives of major Japanese media organizations, such as the Yomiuri Shimbun and the Nikkei business daily, and university professors were also included in the list released by the ministry. ...continue reading