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Japanese parliamentarian Muneo Suzuki in hot water over trip to Russia

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04 Oct 2023 11:10:26 GMT9
04 Oct 2023 11:10:26 GMT9

Arab News Japan

TOKYO: Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party) on Tuesday said it is considering disciplinary action against Upper House member SUZUKI Muneo for traveling to Russia without notifying the party.

A party official told Japanese local media that, “As a rule, there is no requirement for party members to notify us when traveling abroad, but Upper House member Suzuki, who serves as the deputy representative of the parliamentary delegation, bears a significant responsibility. We would like to hear from him personally upon his return before deciding on disciplinary measures.”

On Monday, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that Deputy Foreign Minister Rudenko had met with Suzuki, apparently in Moscow.

On Tuesday, Japanese Foreign Minister KAMIKAWA Yoko, commented on Suzuki’s trip, saying that “as a basic stance, the Japanese government has provided a travel advisory to avoid all travel to Russia.”

“We have asked people to refrain from traveling to Russia for any purpose,” she added. “Beyond that, as to the purpose and schedule of Upper House member Mr. Suzuki, I am not in a position to answer,” she said at a press conference on Tuesday.

When questioned further as to whether the Japanese Foreign Ministry condoned Mr. Suzuki’s actions, Kamikawa responded curtly: “As to the question of Mr. Suzuki’s visit to Russia, we were not informed in advance or after that.”

Suzuki responded to a telephone interview with Japanese media on Tuesday, saying that he met Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrei Yurevich Rudenko in Russia to request that the Russians resume allowing Japanese to visit the graves of former islanders in the Northern Territories, which are regarded as occupied territory by Japan.

Rudenko apparently said he regretted the sanctions that caused the breakdown of relations between the two countries.

Suzuki told Japanese media that he also sought to resume Japan-Russia fisheries negotiations. He continued that these two factors were the primary purpose of his visit to Russia. He further said that he believed it was his responsibility as a politician to initiate diplomacy through dialogue.

Suzuki left Tokyo on the morning of October 1, Japan time. He is scheduled to return to Japan on Thursday.

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