Japan reacts to the expulsion of a « spy diplomat »
Tokyo denies consul spying on Russia
Japan has lodged a formal complaint with the Russian government after Moscow accused one of its diplomats of attempted espionage, insisting the accusation has no basis while demanding an apology for the treatment to the consulate official.
Japan’s Foreign Ministry filed the complaint on Tuesday – a day after Russia said it detained Motoki Tatsunori for trying to buy restricted information – dismissing the claims as false and accusing Russian authorities of improper interrogation methods .
« The alleged illegal activity insisted on by the Russian side is completely unfounded, » Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a press briefing, adding that Deputy Foreign Minister Takeo Mori had summoned the Russian envoy to demand an apology.
Matsuno went on to say that Tatsunori was interrogated while wearing a blindfold and his head and hands were tied, saying the treatment was « intimidating » and may have violated a treaty between Russia and Japan.
« This is extremely regrettable and absolutely unacceptable, » he said.
Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said it detained the diplomat in Vladivostok « suspected of having received, against remuneration, confidential information » relative to « Russia’s cooperation with another country in the Asia-Pacific region », as well as the impact of Western economic sanctions. The service added that Tatsunori had been declared « persona non grata » for activities that are « incompatible with the status of a consular official and prejudicial to the security interests of Russia ».
The Russian Foreign Ministry later summoned Japan’s envoy over the incident and said Tatsunori must leave the country within 48 hours.
The Japanese official has since been released and is expected to return to Japan on Wednesday, according to Matsuno.