The newspapers in this country have all reported on what transpired at the Narita Airport and the humiliating experience suffered by our Prime Minister (I wonder whether same woman immigration officer would have meted out the same treatment had it been a prime minister of a Caucasian country; or if it was an American Secretary / Minister, she would have personally carried his bags and taken him to the VIP lounge). We the people need to know as to who was at fault - was it the PM’s office, our foreign ministry or was it the Japanese Embassy here? WE HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW, for there appears to be many angles to this.
We are reliably informed that the normal practice is for the foreign ministry to send a note (which is referred to as a Third Person Note) and request that a visa be issued to the dignitary visiting a country. Was this practice not followed and did the PMoffice send the passport with a letter to the Japanese Embassy? In this regard it must be stated that certain VIPs mind you, indulge in human smuggling; they take large numbers of people (who pay) along with them. This is a huge racket. One sporty minister got caught ---- he blamed it on his ‘catcher’ and got away with it --- he was rewarded with another ministry; his ‘catcher’ got away with millions.
Those who accompany the VIP of course go underground. There are a large number of such illegal immigrants in Japan. It suits the Japanese too for they do the menial work which the average Japanese will not do. If, in this instance, those who sought the visa for the PM did not ask for a diplomatic visa in order to facilitate the ‘yakkos’ accompanying him to be cleared along with him, then whoever was responsible for this act of people smuggling (one man in robes in the PM’s party was caught and deported on the next flight) should be taken to task.
If the Japanese Embassy’s consular officer had given the PM a normal visit visa, then we need to know as to whether their authorities at Narita do not respect the fact that the holder is a prime minister and holds a diplomatic passport and is therefore entitled to certain privileges. Next we need to question the role played by our embassy. The ambassador is said to have been on sanctioned leave abroad. Who was therefore in charge of the embassy? Was it a political greenhorn? Did the embassy inform the Japanese foreign office that the prime minister was arriving in the country? This is an absolute obligation as the Japanese government is responsible for his security. If the embassy did not inform the Japanese government then we need to take action against whoever was responsible. It does seem strange that the ambassador who was on leave abroad is being held responsible and is being recalled; or is he being recalled because he refused to be a party to a crooked business as has been revealed both in a Sunday newspaper and yesterday’s The Island? We, the tax paying public, have a right to demand to know the facts. Also is the ambassador being recalled to send a crony of the minister as his replacement? (Quite a few may be salivating at the prospect of going to Japan as ambassador, and the knives may be out even in the ministry).
Do hope the foreign minister himself will issue a statement and set out what has happened so that such faux pas would not happen again and we would, as the editor of The Island has stated in his brilliant editorial on Monday (Sept. 14), be able to avoid collective humiliation in the future.