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Japanese Government Regrets Former PM's Visit to Crimea

Former PM heads a Russian-Japanese friendship society

TOKYO, March 11, (TASS) - The visit of Japan’s former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama to Crimea is a thoughtless step, the country’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga, said on Wednesday.

"For a politician who formerly served as a prime minister, this is a really ill-considered move. The Japanese government expresses regret in connection to this," Suga told journalists.

<figcaption>Japan’s former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama</figcaption>
Japan’s former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama

Hatoyama, who heads the Russia-Japan friendship society, arrived on a three-day visit to Crimea on Tuesday despite the criticism earlier voiced by the Japanese Foreign Ministry and the government.

The former Japanese prime minister said he wanted to personally make sure that the citizens of the Black Sea peninsula have really sought to reunify with Russia.

On Tuesday, Hatoyama visited the cultural and historic sites on Crimea’s southern coast. Later on Wednesday he plans to meet with the republic’s leadership and also visit Sevastopol, which has a federal status, on March 12.

Crimea, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities brought to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014. In mid-March 2014, Crimea rejoined Russia following a referendum.

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