Thaksin Granted Visa to Japan After Sister Sworn In as Thailand’s Premier
Japan said today it had granted an entry visa to exiled former Thai leader Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 coup, 10 days after parliament selected his sister as the country’s first female prime minister.
Thaksin was granted a visa by Japan at the request of the Thai government, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters today. Edano didn’t say when Thaksin would enter the country.
Thaksin is interested “in visiting and meeting with victims of the disaster in northern Japan and promoting goodwill between our two countries,” Edano said.
During the election campaign, Yingluck Shinawatra deflected questions on whether her Pheu Thai party, which won a majority in the July 3 vote, would promote amnesty for Thaksin who has been living in Dubai since fleeing a 2008 jail term for abuse of power. To engineer the return of her brother, she will have to overcome opposition from Thailand’s military, courts and bureaucracy.
Germany has lifted a travel ban on Thaksin, according to a German official who spoke on condition of anonymity in accordance with government procedure. The Thai-language Khao Sod newspaper reported on Aug. 11 that Thaksin traveled to Munich by private jet on Aug. 5 and met with supporters in Hamburg on Aug. 9. Thaksin also visted Finland in July, according to a report in the Helsinki-based Helsingin Sanomat newspaper.
The German official cited the changed political circumstances in Thailand after the July 3 contest as the reason for lifting the travel ban on Thaksin.
Pheu Thai won 265 seats in the 500-seat parliament, the fifth straight time a party linked to Thaksin has won the most seats in an election since 2001. The military ousted him in 2006 on grounds he failed to respect King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 83. The monarch’s 65-year reign has seen nine coups and more than 20 prime ministers.
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