Thailand's fugitive former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will visit Japan from next Monday after being given a visa by the Japanese government. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told a news conference on Monday that Thaksin was granted a visa after being asked to do so by Thailand's new government, headed by Thaksin's younger sister Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
Thaksin, who has been living in exile in Dubai since being ousted in a coup in 2006, will give speeches to a business forum and address students at Tama University in Tokyo as well as visit tsunami-hit areas in Miyagi Prefecture. He will stay in Japan until Aug 28.
Japan does not allow the entry of people who have been found guilty of a crime and sentenced to jail terms of more than one year, but the government occasionally makes exceptions. Thaksin was sentenced to two years for abuse of authority in granting permission to his wife to purchase a piece of land from a stage agency while he was holding a position in government. The Thai government made the request to Tokyo in the interest of improving bilateral relations, Edano said.
However, the Bangkok Post on Monday quoted a Thai government spokesman as saying that the government had nothing to do with Thaksin's visit to Japan because the former prime minister received an invitation from the Japan, China, Asean Institute of Economy and Culture in June, before the July 3 general election.© Japan Today