Russian detention of Japanese diplomat “unacceptable,” says Japanese foreign minister

Russia’s detention of a Japanese consular officer on Monday is “extremely regrettable and unacceptable,” Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said.

“The consular officer was taken away in a state of immobility, blindfolded from start to finish, with his hands and head held down, and was subjected to intimidating interrogation,” Hayashi told reporters on Tuesday, adding that “there is absolutely no evidence of illegal activities as claimed by the Russian side.”

Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Mori summoned Russian Ambassador to Japan Mikhail Galuzin on Tuesday morning, Hayashi said. Mori lodged a formal protest, demanding a formal apology and the prevention of recurrence.

The Japanese government will take “appropriate measures,” Hayashi said.

Some context: The Russian Federal Security Service said that the Japanese consul Motoki Tatsunori was detained in Vladivostok on Monday for receiving confidential information.

According to state news agency RISA Novosti, the FSB said the diplomat “was detained red-handed while receiving, for a monetary reward information of limited distribution [ie confidential] about current aspects of Russia’s cooperation with one of the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, the impact of the Western sanctions policy on the economic situation in Primorsky Krai.”

The consul was also declared persona non grata by the Russia Foreign Ministry “for activities that are incompatible with the status of a consular officer and detrimental to Russia’s security interests,” they said in a statement.

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