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SIMFEROPOL, March 11. /TASS/. Japan currently forms its foreign policy under the influence of the Western countries and the United States, Japan’s former Prime Minister who heads the Japan - Russia Friendship Society Yukio Hatoyama said on Wednesday. He arrived in Crimea on Tuesday on a three-day visit.
"On the issue of Crimea the Japanese government also consolidates its position with the Western countries. That’s why it imposed sanctions on Russia. The fact that in the conditions of sanctions a Japanese delegation is visiting Crimea is taken by our Foreign Ministry as inadmissible behaviour," he said, answering reporters’ questions on Wednesday.
However, he said he was not afraid to return home. "If I was afraid to return to Japan I would never come here. I’m used to government criticism," he said.
According to Hatoyama, to lift sanctions on Russia Japan should bring a certain position home to the U.S. administration. "I think we should make certain efforts to this end," he said.
In addition, the former prime minister said, had Japan not joined the anti-Russian sanctions, it could help revive Crimea’s industrial potential. "If we imagine that there are no sanctions, cooperation is possible in the first place in the sphere of industry and the transfer of advanced technology. I’ve heard that the industry in Crimea was not developing during its stay within Ukraine, but the potential has been preserved. I think Japan’s experience and knowledge would be in demand there," he said.
Hatoyama told a press conference in Simferopol on the Crimean peninsula that the referendum was held peacefully and democratically in accordance with the Constitution. His remarks, which can be taken as supporting Russia’s reunification with Crimea, may draw criticism, as Japan has said it does not recognise the outcome of the vote, Kyodo news agency reported.
According to him, he was glad to personally see the "happy peaceful life" on the peninsula. "I am ashamed that our media have one-sidedly covered the situation in Crimea. We must have the courage to tell all the facts," Hatoyama added. He also said he was ready to contribute to the development of cultural and humanitarian ties between the new Russian region and Japan. "I want to believe that through the development of cultural and human ties it is possible to create conditions also for the solution of political problems," said the politician.
The Japanese government had urged Hatoyama not to visit Crimea, saying that a trip by a former prime minister with a Russian visa could conflict with Tokyo’s stance that Moscow unilaterally annexed the territory against international law. In Tokyo, the government and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party condemned the visit by Hatoyama, who was prime minister from September 2009 to June 2010 when the opposition Democratic Party of Japan was in power.