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TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Wednesday he could not accept Moscow’s decision to ban him and 62 other Japanese citizens from entry into Russia, and that Russia bore full responsibility for driving bilateral ties to where they are now.

Russia’s foreign ministry earlier announced sanctions against 63 Japanese officials, journalists and professors for engaging in “unacceptable rhetoric” against Moscow.

The decision came after Japan imposed sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin and other political and business leaders for the invasion of Ukraine. Moscow calls its action there a “special military operation.”

Japan to attend G20 meet, no comment on Russia’s participation

“The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a clear violation of international law. Killing a large number of innocent civilians constitutes a grave violation of international humanitarian law and a war crime,” Kishida told reporters in Rome.

“It is the Russian side that resorted to arms and brought about the current situation … The Russian announcement (on the entry ban) is absolutely unacceptable,” he said, following talks with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

Asked about potential countermeasures, Kishida, who is scheduled to meet British counterpart Boris Johnson on Thursday, said Japan planned to respond appropriately while cooperating with the international community.

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