Russia announced Wednesday it has "indefinitely" banned 63 Japanese citizens including Prime Minister Fumio Kishida from ever entering the country over joining Washington's anti-Russia campaign in response to the Ukraine war.
Also on the banned entry list is Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi, and Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki, as well as a number of members of parliament and top military officers, according to CNN citing state RIA.
Diplomatic tensions have also risen of late due to Japan early last month removing Ukraine's Azov battalion from its designated list of recognized terror and neo-Nazi groups.
Additionally Tokyo has jumped on the bandwagon of the West's sanctions campaign, which has included introducing measures to freeze the assets of President Putin and some of his family members.
Russian Ambassador to Japan Mikhail Galuzin had said at the time that Japan initiated the official change in status regarding Azov...
"I think that the actions the corresponding Japanese structures undertook to exclude the Azov nationalist battalion from the category of neo-Nazi organizations stem from the fact that Japan, like other Group of Seven nations, supports the Kiev regime in all its actions, including those against the population of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics," according to TASS.
This fresh move to bar Japanese top officials is said to be in response to an "unprecedented anti-Russian campaign."
Russia's Foreign Ministry said: "The administration of Fumio Kishida launched an unprecedented anti-Russian campaign, allows unacceptable rhetoric against the Russian Federation, including slander and direct threats," as cited in RIA.
"It is echoed by public figures, experts and media representatives of Japan, who are completely engaged in the attitudes of the West towards our country," the statement continued.
Tensions have also ratcheted in regional waters where Russia has been angered over planned US-Japan naval exercises in waters close to contested areas and disputed islands.