(Featured photo provided by David Mareuil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Japan summoned Russia’s ambassador in Tokyo to demand they immediately make an apology after one of Japan’s diplomats was allegedly blindfolded and interrogated in Vladivostock, Russia.
According to Japan’s foreign minister, Yoshimasa Hayashi, a Japanese consul based in Vladivostock by the name of Tatsunori Motoki, was detained by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) and proclaimed a persona non grata, ordered to leave the country within 48 hours. After he had been detained, Hayashi said that Motoki was then “taken away in a state of immobility, blindfolded from start to finish, with his hands and head held down, and subjected to intimidating interrogation.”
Motoki was accused of espionage by the Russian Foreign Ministry, including reportedly receiving classified information, in exchange for money, about Russia’s cooperation with another Asian country near the Pacific; as well as for also soliciting information on the impact that various sanctions enforced as a result of Russia’s war on Ukraine had on Russia’s Primorsky locality. “A Japanese diplomat was detained red-handed while receiving classified information, in exchange for money, about Russia’s cooperation with another country in the Asia-Pacific region,” stated the FSB in a report. “The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation in the Primorsky Territory stopped the espionage action of Motoki Tatsunori, Consul of the Consulate General of Japan in Vladivostok.”
Hayashi has publicly condemned the detention of the consul by the FSB, stating that there was absolutely no evidence of him committing espionage against Russia and that it was extremely “unacceptable.” Japan’s foreign ministry then summoned Russia’s ambassador in Tokyo, Mikhail Galuzin, calling for Russia to make a formal apology, otherwise the Japanese government would consider making retaliatory measures against them.
This incident comes after deteriorating relations between Moscow and Tokyo, especially after Russia labeled Japan as a “hostile country” after it imposed sanctions on Russia, much like the U.S and the UK, as a result of the war in Ukraine. There is also an ongoing dispute between the countries over a few islands north of Japan which were captured by the Soviet Union back in World War II following the Empire of Japan’s surrender.
It was revealed in a news briefing on Tuesday by Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno that Motoki was no longer in detention and is expected to come back to Japan on Wednesday.