Professor Itsuro Nakamura Honored to be on The Russian Banned List | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Professor Itsuro Nakamura Honored to be on The Russian Banned List

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Prof. Nakamura spoke of being “honored” to be on Russia’s “banned list” (Image: Kyodo News)

“When I saw the list, I was frankly disgusted. I was the last one on the list, with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and other important people in order from the top to the bottom. They used me as a punchline.”

Laughing as he said this is Itsuro Nakamura, a professor at Tsukuba Gakuin University and an expert on the situation in Russia.


The “list” to which Nakamura refers is the list of 63 Japanese nationals banned from entering Russia, announced by the Russian Foreign Ministry on May 4. Nakamura says, “It’s not just the order of the names that is infuriating.”

“The titles were also incorrect. The affiliation was ‘University of Tsukuba. I retired from the University of Tsukuba in March.” 

The list includes Prime Minister Kishida, Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, LDP policy chief Sanae Takaichi, and others. Prime Minister Kishida responded, “The responsibility (for economic sanctions due to the invasion of Ukraine) lies entirely on the Russian side. This is absolutely unacceptable. Takaichi, the chairman of the policy research committee, said, “That’s fine with me. I wouldn’t go even if I was invited!” in his Kansai dialect.

What are the “criteria” for making the list?

Politicians were not the only ones on the list. The list also includes media representatives such as Tsuneo Watanabe, the president of the Yomiuri Shimbun Group, and academics such as Nakamura. The following is a question-and-answer session with Mr. Nakamura.

What criteria do you think were used to create the list?

Nakamura: “I think that the idea was to essentially break off diplomatic relations with Japan. Since Prime Minister Kishida and Foreign Minister Hayashi are on the list, there is a possibility that diplomatic negotiations between Japan and Russia will come to a halt. On the other hand, few names of people in the business community are listed. There are many companies that have withdrawn from Russia, but it is clear that they want to keep their connections to the Japanese economy.


Q: Do you have any idea why you were banned?

“I have no idea. I am surprised at the suddenness of it. I am only guessing, but I think I told the truth too much. Maybe President Putin got angry with me because I have continued to leak the truth, which is inconvenient for Russia, to the media.”

“In a way, I am honored to accept that my activities have been endorsed by President Putin. I would have been rather shocked if I had been omitted from the list. I am relieved to be on the list.”

Do you intend to continue publishing the “truth” in the future?”

“Of course. I am not under any pressure, so I am not afraid of anything. I have been telling the truth for a long time. With the publication of the “banned list,” it has become clear that under Putin’s regime, people who tell the truth will be sanctioned. I am very happy. I feel fine.”


When did you learn that you were on the list?

“On the evening of May 4, I received an e-mail from a Japanese TV executive living in Moscow. He is an alumnus of my seminar. I was about to have dinner with my family at that time. I was so proud and happy. My family of four opened a bottle of champagne and we toasted. I am grateful to President Putin.”

Nakamura laughs off his inclusion on the “banned list. He is determined to continue to communicate “inconvenient truths” about Russia through the media.

  • Photo Kyodo News

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