Crying an “unprecedented anti-Russian campaign” led by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s administration, Moscow has blacklisted 63 Japanese officials and public figures banning them from entering Russia, after Japan restricted its use of Russian coal and oil last month.
Japan’s foreign minister, minister of defense, finance and justice ministers are among the blacklisted officials. The list also includes senior officials from the Yomiuri Shimbun Group and Nikkei Group, the owners of two leading Japanese newspapers.
Japan’s Prime Minister Kishida is also on the list of sanctioned persons issued by Russia’s Foreign Ministry today.
In its official release, Russin 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 Russia.
Japan and its G-7 allies have imposed sanctions on Russia after its unprovoked aggression against neighboring Ukraine.
On April 8, Kishida announced that Japan would ban Russian coal imports and that it had expelled eight Russian diplomats.
Tokyo government also froze all assets owned by Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s daughters and 398 other Russians.
In March, Russia ended an arrangement dating back to 1991 that allowed Japanese citizens to visit Russian-occupied 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.
Russia and Japan never formally concluded a peace treaty after WWII, due to the dispute over the four southernmost Japanese islands in the Kuril chain, annexed and occupied by Russia at the end of WWII, which Japan refers to as its “Northern Territories.”