Punishment must not be used as cover: JCP Shii on Foreign Ministry punishment

Commenting on the punitive action against Ambassador to the Netherlands Togo Kazuhiko and other Foreign Ministry officials, Japanese Communist Party Executive Committee Chair Shii Kazuo said on April 3 that the foreign minister was trying to put an end to the scandalous double-track diplomacy towards Russia. He made the following points:

-- On the previous day, Kawaguchi announced punishments targeting 37 ministry officials, including Togo, over a series of scandals involving Suzuki Muneo, an influential member of the House of Representatives. But the foreign minister failed to clearly explain what Togo's mistakes were in connection with Japan's policy towards Russia.

-- Togo is under serious suspicion. He, then director general of the Foreign Ministry European Affairs Bureau, had attended secret talks held on March 5 the previous year between Suzuki and a Russian foreign ministry high official. In the talks, Togo had virtually supported Suzuki, who had proposed that two out of the four Russian-held islands off Hokkaido be first returned to Japan. Togo had played a role in a diplomacy that distorted the Japanese government's official demand that the four islands be returned.

Shii at the news conference in the Diet Building said, "Togo is still in the foreign ministry, so the ministry must immediately conduct an investigation into the March 5 secret talk in order to reveal the facts before the Japanese public." (end)