Former president once seen as a reformer has reinvented himself as an archhawk since Russia invaded Ukraine last year.
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has accused Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of shameful subservience to the United States and suggested that he ritually cut himself open.
It was the latest in a long line of shocking and provocative statements from Medvedev, who was once seen as a Western-oriented reformer but has reinvented himself as an archhawk since Russia invaded Ukraine last year.
At a news conference in Washington on Saturday, a day after a summit with US President Joe Biden on Friday, Kishida made no mention of Medvedev’s comment, nor was he asked about it.
Japanese officials traveling with Kishida did not immediately respond to requests for comment, and no one in Japan was immediately available to comment on the remarks at the Prime Minister’s official residence or the State Department outside of normal working hours.
Medvedev is a prominent ally of President Vladimir Putin, who serves as deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council and a body that oversees the defense industry.
He was responding to a Friday meeting between Kishida and Biden, after which the two leaders issued a joint statement saying: “We declare unequivocally that any use of a nuclear weapon by Russia in Ukraine would be an act of hostility against humanity and cannot be justified. anyway.”
On Saturday, Kishida said the G7 summit of major industrialized nations in Hiroshima in May should demonstrate a strong will to uphold international order and rule of law after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Medvedev said the nuclear statement testified “paranoia” towards Russia and betrayed “the memory of hundreds of thousands of Japanese who were burned in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear fire.” surrender at the end of World War II.
Rather than demand repentance from the US for this, Kishida had shown himself to be “just a servant of the Americans”.
He said such shame could only be washed away by committing “seppuku” — a form of disembowelment suicide known as “hara-kiri” — at a Japanese cabinet meeting following Kishida’s return.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Medvedev has repeatedly warned that Western interference in the crisis could lead to nuclear war, and has called Ukrainians “cockroaches,” in language that Kiev says is openly genocidal.
Putin has said the risk of nuclear war is increasing, but insisted Russia has not “gone mad” and sees its own nuclear arsenal as a purely defensive deterrent.