Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev urged Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to disembowel himself after he warned Moscow against the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
Kishida on Friday met with President Joe Biden, who reiterated his administration’s support for Japanese defense efforts, weeks after Tokyo announced its largest military buildup since World War II amid concerns about Chinese military actions. The meeting was seen as strengthening the U.S.-Japan alliance.
Following the meeting, Biden and Kishida issued a joint statement in which they touched on efforts to see the “denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula. They also spoke against the potential of nuclear weapons being used in the Ukraine war.
“We state unequivocally that any use of a nuclear weapon by Russia in Ukraine would be an act of hostility against humanity and unjustifiable in any way. And we will continue to support Ukraine in the face of Russia’s abhorrent attacks on critical infrastructure,” the statement reads.
Their message was met with poor reception from Medvedev, the deputy chairman of Russia’s security council.
Once seen as a fairly moderate voice in Russian politics, Medvedev has become a vocal champion of the widely-condemned Ukraine invasion, and has made several controversial remarks since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the “special military operation” last February.
In a lengthy Telegram post, Medvedev, a close Putin ally, slammed Kishida for the statement, writing that he “betrayed the memory of hundreds of thousands of Japanese who burned in the nuclear fires of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” In August 1945, the United States dropped atomic bombs on those two Japanese cities, killing up to more than 200,000 civilians in an effort to end World War II.
“He should remind the US president about this and demand repentance, even if it was not brought by the American leadership for this act of war. But no, Kysida is just a service staff for the Americans. And servants cannot have courage,” he added.
Medvedev also suggested Kishida should perform “seppuku,” a form of ritual suicide, over his remarks.
“It remains to feel sorry for the Japanese,” he wrote. “After all, such a shame can be washed away only after committing seppuku right at the meeting of their Cabinet. Although the concept of honor of this generation of Japanese vassals is not inherent.”
Russia has not used nuclear weapons in Ukraine, but concerns have grown that Putin could use them should he face defeat. In the fall, the Russian leader ramped up his rhetoric surrounding nukes, and several officials and state media figures have taunted the West over the threat.
China, Russia Build Relationship as Japan, U.S. Alliance Strengthens
Japan, like many other nations, has criticized Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which continues to flounder despite the vast size of Putin’s military. Newsweek previously reported that prior to the invasion, Russia reportedly considered military action against Japan instead.
As the U.S. and Japan strengthen its relationship, Russia and China have also boosted its ties in recent months as Putin aims to increase his influence in the Pacific region.
China has become perhaps the most powerful country to support the Ukraine invasion, with Russia backing China in its own regional conflicts, including the debate over Taiwan’s independence.
Newsweek reached out to the Japanese government for comment.
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