Russia dismisses Japan’s spying allegations

By RIA Novosti

Tokyo : The Russian embassy in Tokyo Wednesday dismissed a police report that alleged a Japanese official had leaked classified information to Russia, and called it an attempt to strain bilateral ties.

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Japanese police said earlier Wednesday that a Cabinet Information Research Office official had divulged information on Japanese foreign and domestic policy to an official of the Russian embassy in Tokyo. The police said documents proving his guilt would be sent to prosecutors.

“We have read those reports,” Russian embassy’s press attaché Sergei Yasenev said, calling the accounts confusing and regrettable. “Certain forces in Japan seem to be trying to cast a slur on Russia,” he said.

The police said the alleged informant provided secret information, and frequently met with an embassy employee in 2007. The embassy official has reportedly left Japan some time ago.

Japan’s Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said Wednesday that tough measures would be taken over the incident. “It is deplorable that the incident took place right under my nose. A thorough investigation should be conducted and tough measures taken,” Fukuda said.

Relations between Russia and Japan have been complicated by the contested ownership of the Kuril Islands. The dispute, simmering for over 60 years, has kept the two countries from signing a formal peace treaty after World War II.

The countries have also been involved in frequent disputes over Japanese vessels’ poaching in Russia’s Pacific waters. In late August 2007, a Japanese fisherman was shot dead near the Kuril Islands when Russian border guards opened fire at his boat after it refused to stop.