Private Visit in Japan

Translated : http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/01/ … haksin.php

TOKYO: Thailand's ousted prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, was in Tokyo on Friday, but Japanese officials said they had no plans to meet him out of concerns over relations with the current caretaker government in Bangkok.

Thaksin arrived in Tokyo late Thursday on his first visit to Japan since being toppled from office in a Sept. 19 bloodless military coup.

“Now is time for me to relax, get together with my family, see my old friends,” Thaksin said Thursday after arriving at Narita international airport outside Tokyo.

Japanese officials said they were aware of Thaksin's visit but had no plans to meet the former leader.

“We have our relations with the current Thai government to consider. … We are aware that the government is very sensitive about this issue,” he said.

The Thai Foreign Ministry was in “regular contact” with Japanese authorities both in Bangkok and in Tokyo, said spokesman Kitti Wasinondh.

He declined to discuss details of the conversations, saying only that Thailand wanted to make sure the two countries had “the same understanding of the situation.”

“We have a strong confidence and trust in Japanese cooperation,” Kitti said, contacted in Bangkok. “We don't expect any problems.”

Thai media reported Friday that the former leader was scheduled to give a speech at the prestigious Tokyo University and receive an honorary degree there.

University spokeswoman Kayoko Hayashi, however, said none of the school's main departments had plans to receive Thaksin. She said the university was checking with its professors about the reported visit.

The former leader's private visit to Singapore earlier this week sparked a diplomatic row between Thailand and Singapore.

Thailand's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday withdrew an invitation to Singapore's Foreign Minister George Yeo to visit the country and suspended an exchange program of civil servants following Thaksin's meeting with a top Singaporean official.

Thaksin, who has been touring Europe and Asia since his ouster, planned to stay in Japan for about a week, according to public broadcaster NHK.

The former leader is being investigated for corruption and abuse of power during his 5 1/2 years in office.

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