Russia bans entry to Japanese prime minister, dozens of others
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (not pictured) hold a joint press conference. Kay Nietfeld/dpa
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (not pictured) hold a joint press conference. Kay Nietfeld/dpa

The Kremlin retaliated on Tuesday against sanctions imposed by Japan for Russia's invasion of Ukraine, by placing an entry ban on 63 Japanese citizens, including Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

Kishida's government was accused by the Russian Foreign Ministry of launching an "unprecedented anti-Russian campaign" and "allowing itself to use improper rhetoric against the Russian Federation, including slander and direct threats."

Tokyo's actions are destroying "good neighbourly relations" and damaging Russia's economy and image, it added.

In addition to the Japanese prime minister, Russia's blacklist includes Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, parliamentarians, owners of media outlets and journalists.

The entry ban is in effect indefinitely.

Japan joined Western partners in slapping sanctions on Russia for its war in Ukraine. But tensions between two countries have also flared due to competing claims to the Kuril Islands, which Tokyo calls its Northern Territories.

Moscow terminated talks on a partial return of the archipelago in March. Tokyo subsequently described these islands as "illegally occupied" in April for the first time in years.