Indonesian minister claims being threatened by Japanese ambassador

The Jakarta Post’s executive director,Riyadi Suparno, (left) and the Post’s editor-in-chief, Meidyatama Suryodiningrat, (right) welcome Japanese Ambassador to Indonesia Yasuaki Tanizaki as he arrives for a visit at the Post’s office in Palmerah, West Jakarta.

National Development Planning Board (Bappenas) Minister Andrinof Chaniago claimed on his Facebook account on Monday that the Japanese ambassador to Indonesia had threatened economic and political repercussions should Indonesia cancel projects involving Japan.

"The Japanese ambassador sort of threatened [me during a meeting]. He said if projects were cancelled there would be economic and political consequences. But I have to carry out actions on behalf of the Indonesian people. As a minister, I have to understand that he [as an ambassador] has to carry out his diplomatic functions as well," Andrinof, a political observer by training, said.

Andrinof did not elaborate further.

But around 12 hours before making his Facebook post, Andrinof criticised the aggressiveness of other countries, particularly Japan, in facilitating companies seeking projects in Indonesia.

"One of the most aggressive countries is Japan. It is the task of Bappenas to ensure that investment promotes growth," he said.

Japan is Indonesia's biggest lender with its most recent and biggest project being the construction of the MRT, costing around US$2 billion (S$2.67 billion).

Japanese Ambassador Tanizaki Yasuaki, 63, has served in Indonesia since Sept 20, 2014.

Tanizaki, a law graduate from the prestigious Tokyo University, is one of Japan's most talented diplomats. He joined the foreign service in 1975 and has worked in Austria, the Philippines, Russia, Germany and Vietnam.

Prior to his post in Indonesia, according to the Japanese Embassy, Tanizaki was director general of Japan's Foreign Service Training Institute.