Former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama arrived Tuesday in Crimea, amid Japan's government urge not to visit the region. Georgy Muradov, deputy prime minister of Crimean government, met Hatoyama at Simferopol International Airport.
Officials feared that if a former prime minister entered the territory with a Russian visa, it could conflict with Japan’s stance that Russia unilaterally took the territory from Ukraine in violation of international law.
Hatoyama will visit cultural and historical sites Tuesday, meet the local leadership and hold a news conference Wednesday. He will move on to Sevastopol, home port of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, on Thursday.
Japanese officials fear Moscow could exploit his visit in its efforts to justify Crimea's unification with Russia.