A Career-limiting Maneuver of the first rank, that.
The government has decided to replace the Japanese Ambassador to Russia following his failure to gather advance information on Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to the disputed Northern Territories off Hokkaido last month.The replacement under consideration, C. Harada, *is* savvy about Russian affairs... the only concern might well be that the Russian School in the gaimushou (Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs) hasn't always been reliably ...how to put this delicately?... working for *Japan's* best interests, but in fairness to Mr. Harada his work in the Embassy to the Czech Republic recently has been entirely proper. He may well be a very fine choice for this tough assignment.
Masaharu Kono, Japanese ambassador to Moscow, will be replaced by Chikahito Harada, Japanese ambassador to the Czech Republic, as early as January, the government decided on Dec. 23.
Meanwhile, Russian President Medvedev has gone back to stating Russia doesn't have to give up the Northern Territories. He certainly seems heartbroken to hear Japan is replacing M. Kono:
Medvedev deplored press reports that the Japanese government is planning to replace Ambassador to Moscow Masaharu Kono over his insufficient intelligence gathering on the president's visit to Kunashiri.Yeah well, I'm sure it is easy to feel that way if such a useful
Medvedev said he was sorry that his visit had the unintended effect of helping to interrupt the ambassador's career.