Thanks a lot! Japan scrambles to meet sudden Russian visa request

September 11, 2012

By HIDEKI SOEJIMA/ Correspondent

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia--A grandiose thank-you by Russia's president to hundreds of Russian students has caused a bureaucratic headache for Japan, after Vladimir Putin declared he would send the youngsters there on vacation--and they would all need visas.

After a Sept. 9 news conference, Putin thanked 2,500 volunteers who helped marshal visitors at the APEC regional leaders summit in Vladivostok. He said he had told Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda a day earlier he wanted to send about 500 of the volunteers on a tour to Japan.

"I asked Prime Minister Noda to prepare visas in a hurry, and he said he would do everything possible," Putin said.

Putin said Noda asked when the visitors would arrive. Putin replied: Three days from now.

"He was stupefied," Putin said of Noda's response.

The students were to embark from Vladivostok on a cruise ship on the morning of Sept. 11, visiting Yokohama and Tokyo and returning to Russia by air Sept. 13, said a diplomatic source familiar with Russia-Japan relations.

The source said the Russian side made the request several days earlier, and Japanese officials are working to prepare the visas in time.

By HIDEKI SOEJIMA/ Correspondent
  • 1
submit to reddit
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda at the APEC meeting in Vladivostok, Russia, Sept. 8. (Pool)

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda at the APEC meeting in Vladivostok, Russia, Sept. 8. (Pool)

Toggle
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda at the APEC meeting in Vladivostok, Russia, Sept. 8. (Pool)

More AJW