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SIMFEROPOL, 11 March. /TASS/. Japan's former prime minister, visiting the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, said on Wednesday he saw no tanks or starving citizens on the streets, contrary to how affairs have been portrayed in Western media.
"It's only my second day in Crimea, but I have managed to see for myself that Crimea residents live quite a happy and peaceful life," former premier Yukio Hatoyama told journalists, noting it is obvious Crimeans voted in favor of reunification with Russia "without any military influence" and following "their own aspirations and sentiments".
"Certainly, I have seen no tanks on the streets," Hatoyama said, noting Western media’s "one-sided" reporting.
Hatoyama, heading the Russia-Japan Friendship Society, arrived on a three-day visit to the territory on Tuesday despite criticism from the Japanese foreign ministry and the government.
The former premier said he wanted personally to make sure residents of Crimea had sought to reunify with Russia.
On Tuesday, Hatoyama visited cultural and historic sites on Crimea’s southern coast. Later on Wednesday he planned to meet the republic’s leadership and on Thursday to visit Sevastopol, a Russian federal city and home to Russia's Black Sea fleet.