Lawmaker Muneo Suzuki Visits Moscow Despite Warning

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Muneo Suzuki

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — House of Councillors member Muneo Suzuki met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko on Monday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said, becoming the first Japanese lawmaker to visit Russia since the start of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Suzuki, a member of opposition Nippon Ishin no Kai [Japan Innovation Party], was visiting Moscow from Sunday for a trip through Thursday, according to his office.

The trip was reported to the upper house in advance. He had planned to visit Russia in May, but gave up the idea at the time.

Nippon Ishin Secretary General Fumitake Fujita told reporters in Tokyo on Tuesday that the party is considering punitive action against Suzuki for failing to report the trip to the party in advance.

The Japanese government advises Japanese nationals against traveling to Russia for whatever reason, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a press conference on Tuesday.

During the Monday meeting, the Russian side praised Suzuki for making an important contribution to the development of bilateral ties, while criticizing Japan for purposefully destroying the decades-old accumulated wealth of interstate cooperation by imposing sanctions on Russia over its Ukraine invasion, just to please the United States, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

The Russian side also complained that Tokyo’s policy does not meet the national interests of Japan or the aspirations of the Japanese people, the ministry said.