A Japanese consul has been detained in the Russian Pacific port city of Vladivostok on suspicion of espionage. He has also been ordered to leave the country after his arrest. The Russian security agency FSB reported this information on Monday. Reuters news.
The Russian agency released the consul after several hours of detention. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told a media briefing on Tuesday that Tokyo had lodged a “strong protest” over the detention. Tokyo also hinted at retaliation.
Consul Matoki Tasunori was caught red-handed receiving secret information about the impact of Western sanctions on the economic situation in Russia’s Far East, the FSB said. As a result, he was declared ‘persona non grata’. Russia has also protested this incident to Tokyo through diplomatic channels.
Japanese government spokesman Matsuno said Moscow had blindfolded the consul in an ‘intimidating manner’ in ‘clear violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations’. The detained consul was not involved in any illegal activity.
Japan’s deputy foreign minister told Russia’s ambassador to the country that Tokyo ‘needs to take equivalent steps’ and demanded a formal apology from Moscow.
Matsuno also said that the released consul has no health problems and will leave Russia by Wednesday.