Russia Temporarily Detains Japanese Consul in Vladivostok

File photo / Sergey Bobylev/TASS Host Photo Agency/Handout via REUTERS
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the plenary session of the 2022 Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok, Russia September 7, 2022.

Tokyo, Sept. 27 (Jiji Press)—Russia’s Federal Security Service said Monday that it has detained a Japanese consul in Vladivostok in Russia’s Far East on suspicion of obtaining information illegally in exchange for money.

The consul has been declared a “persona non grata.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry said it summoned a senior official of the Japanese Embassy in Moscow to protest against the consul’s alleged improper acquisition of information and ordered the consul to leave the country within 48 hours.

The consul has already been released, a Japanese government official said Tuesday.

The Japanese Embassy in Moscow lodged a protest to the Russian Foreign Ministry over the detention of the Japanese consul. In a statement, the embassy claimed that the detention amounts to a clear violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which stipulates the inviolability of diplomats, saying that the act was extremely regrettable and can never be accepted.

Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Mori summoned Russian Ambassador to Japan Mikhail Galuzin to the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo on Tuesday morning and made a protest against the Japanese consul’s detention.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said the detention is “totally unacceptable.” He added, “We strongly protest the unbelievable act.”

It is extremely rare for a Japanese diplomat to be detained.

Russia has designated Japan as an unfriendly nation as the country, in cooperation with the United States and European countries, has imposed sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

Japan-Russia relations are expected to deteriorate further amid continuing diplomatic rows, including Moscow’s recent scrapping of its agreements with Tokyo on a program allowing mutual visa-free visits by former Japanese residents of northwestern Pacific islands at the center of the two nations’ long-standing territorial dispute and current Russian residents.