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Russia violates treaty after diplomat ‘interrogation’ – Japan

Japan has accused Russia of violating a global settlement on consular relations after considering the arrest and “forced interrogation” of one of its diplomats on Monday.

Japan’s International Minister Yoshizheng Lin told reporters in Tokyo that the Japanese consul in Vladivostok was blindfolded and in good health before being interrogated by members of Russia’s FSB security firm.

Hayashi demanded an apology from Moscow, calling the remedy “totally unacceptable” and a violation of the 1963 Vienna Conference on Consular Relations, which defined the rights and immunities of host country diplomats. Every country is a signatory.

The FSB has aligned Japanese diplomat Motoki Tatsunori, arrested on suspicion of espionage, with state information firm Tass. Tatsunori allegedly paid for secret details about the financial impact of Western sanctions on Vladivostok, a key port city in Russia’s Far East.

It can be said that Chendian obtained data on “current aspects of Russia’s cooperation with Asia-Pacific countries,” Tass said, without elaborating. The Russian Overseas Department declared Long Dian unwelcome and asked him to leave Russia by Wednesday.

Russia violated the Vienna Convention - Japan
Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi attends the Shikoku Conference during the 77th United Nations Basic Conference on September 23, 2022 in New York City. Hayashi accused Russia of violating the Vienna Conference on Consular Relations after the Federal Security Service (FSB) arrested the Japanese consul in Vladivostok on September 26 on espionage charges.

Hirokazu Matsuno, Japan’s top cabinet secretary, said there was “completely no evidence” to help charge the crime.

“The Russian side’s actions are a clear and serious violation of the Vienna Conference on Consular Relations and the Soviet-Japanese Consular Reconciliation Agreement,” said Matsuno, who described the incident as “very regrettable.”

The Japanese official said the consul had been fired and was “in good health”.

Article 41 of the Congress of Vienna prohibits the arrest of consular officers “in the case of serious prison crimes”, and in any other case, diplomats “shall not be detained or subject to other types of restriction of their private liberty”.

Article 44 states that consular officers are “generally not required to testify on issues related to the efficiency of their work”.

Moscow and Tokyo exchanged protests in the form of diplomatic memos this week, and Russia’s ambassador to Japan, Mikhail Galuzin, has been summoned by Japan’s international ministry, Lin said.

Russia violated the Vienna Convention - Japan
Police detain a girl during a partial mobilization protest by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on September 24, 2022. Japan has accused Russia of violating the Vienna Conference after the Federal Security Service (FSB) arrested the Japanese consul in Vladivostok on September 26.
AFP via Getty Photos

Japan has a complicated relationship with Russia; the countries have yet to signal a postwar peace treaty and dispute the Russian-controlled Kuril Islands that Tokyo claims as its northern territory. Japanese officers are also increasingly involved in Russia’s growing military relationship with China.

Russia added Japan to its list of “unfriendly” countries and territories in March after Tokyo joined Western sanctions on the Kremlin for its February 24 invasion of Ukraine.

On Monday, Japan submitted a new sanctions package banning the export of chemical weapons-related materials to Russia. Another 21 Russian analytics agencies have been included in the restrictions, which will take effect on October 3.

Russia violates treaty after diplomat’s ‘interrogation’ – Japan

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