Former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who retired from politics in December 2012, never failed to draw public attention during his career.
Now he’s at it again.
Hatoyama reportedly plans to visit the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine after a trip to Russia as early as next week.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters Friday that Tokyo is trying hard to dissuade him from going because Japan has not accepted Russia’s annexation of the peninsula. “(Hatoyama’s plan) is very regrettable. We are asking him” not to going there, Suga told a regular press briefing.
Japanese officials apparently fear that a visit by a former prime minister could give international society the impression that Japan, or at least some of its leaders, approve Russia’s takeover of the area.
The Japan Times tried to reach Hatoyama, but he was not immediately available for comment.
After withdrawing from politics, Hatoyama has repeatedly stirred public opinion and in some cases badly annoyed the government.
After becoming the first prime minister from the Democratic Party of Japan in 2009, Hatoyama tried to retract a long-stalled bilateral plan to move U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from Ginowan in Okinawa farther north to Nago and looked for alternative sites outside the prefecture instead.
In January this year, Hatoyama perplexed many DPJ supporters by dressing in drag and playing the role of a woman in an amateur musical in Tokyo.
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