‘We do not expect them to come’: Japan likely to bar Putin from attending former PM Abe’s funeral

Russian President Vladimir Putin stands next to former Japan PM Shinzo Abe. Abe was assassinated on July 8, 2022. [File Photo]

The Japanese government is expected to bar Russian President Vladimir Putin from attending the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, if he desires to do so, the news agency Nikkei reported. Abe, Japan’s longest-serving PM, was assassinated earlier this month.

Japan-based Newspaper Sankei Shimbun quoted a Japanese Foreign Ministry official as saying that Tokyo would formally notify Russia, but “we do not expect them to come.” The ceremony will take place on September 27.

The Kremlin previously said Putin was not planning to attend the funeral, while the presence of other officials would “depend on the protocol.”

Japan blacklisted Putin and several other Russian officials, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in early March in response to Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine.

Russia also sanctioned a number of top Japanese officials, including Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi.

After briefly serving as PM in the 2000s, Abe again held the office from 2012 to 2020, becoming the country’s longest-serving prime minister. He was killed during a parliamentary election campaign event in the city of Nara on July 8.

Abe met with Putin more than 25 times during his work as PM. In his condolence letter, the Russian president described Abe as “an outstanding” leader who “had done a lot for the fostering of good-neighborly relations between our countries.”


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