Russia expels Japanese journalist in military espionage row

Ties between Japan and Russia have been strained for decades by a territorial dispute over a chain of islands in the Pacific. Above, Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual press conference in Moscow on December 19, 2019. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 28 January 2020

Russia expels Japanese journalist in military espionage row

  • The expelled journalist works for Japan’s Kyodo News agency
  • The reporter was told to leave Russia in 72 hours

MOSCOW/TOKYO: Russia said on Monday it expelled a Japanese journalist last month for trying to obtain secret information related to Russian military capabilities in the Russian Far East, Russia’s RIA news agency reported.
The expelled journalist worked for Japan’s Kyodo News agency, it said on Tuesday, denying the accusation of attempted espionage.
Kyodo did not identify the reporter but said he was detained on Dec. 25 in Vladivostok and released after about five hours of questioning.
The reporter was told to leave Russia in 72 hours, Kyodo said.
“For safety reasons, he left the country the following day. It is our understanding that he was engaged in standard reporting activities,” Kyodo said in an emailed statement.
Russia’s foreign ministry summoned a Japanese embassy official to make an official diplomatic protest over the incident, RIA reported.
Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it could not comment on the matter.
Ties between Japan and Russia have been strained for decades by a territorial dispute over a chain of islands in the Pacific.
Known in Russia as the Southern Kuriles and in Japan as the Northern Territories, the islands were seized by the Soviet army in the waning days of World War Two.
The dispute has prevented Russia and Japan from signing a formal peace treaty and developing their relations.
“The Japanese citizen was detained by Russian law enforcement officers in Vladivostok on Dec. 25, 2019 trying to receive secret materials about Russia’s military potential in the Far East,” RIA quoted the Russian foreign ministry as saying.


Iraq revokes Reuters’ license, fines it over coronavirus report

Updated 05 April 2020

Iraq revokes Reuters’ license, fines it over coronavirus report

  • Reuters, in a statement sent to Arab News, said it had not received any notification from the Iraqi authorities “regarding our license and are currently seeking clarification on the matter”
  • “Reuters will continue to report on Iraq in a fair, independent and impartial way, as we do all around the world,” the statement added

LONDON: Iraq temporarily revoked Reuters news agency’s license for a period of three months, after it published a story saying Iraq’s government was misreporting the true number of coronavirus cases.
The news agency was also fined 25 million Iraqi dinars ($20,950), The Associated Press (AP) reported, quoting a statement posted on the official Iraqi Communication and Media Commission website, said.
The suspension on Friday came after Reuters published a story on Thursday citing a health ministry official, a senior political official and “three doctors closely involved in the testing process” as saying Iraq has “thousands of confirmed COVID-19 cases,” many times more than the 772 it had reported at the time.
The article said “Iraqi authorities have instructed medical staff not to speak to the media,” and that the actual number was somewhere between 3,000 and 9,000.
Reuters, in a statement sent to Arab News, said it had not received any notification from the Iraqi authorities regarding its license and is “currently seeking clarification on the matter.”
“We stand by our story of April 2, which was based on multiple, well-placed medical and political sources, and also fully represented the position of the Iraqi health ministry,” the statement said.
“Reuters will continue to report on Iraq in a fair, independent and impartial way, as we do all around the world.”
The official number of coronavirus cases in Iraq on Saturday stood at 878 cases.