Snowden 2.0: Japanese Journalist Has Been Living in Moscow Airport for Two Months

Japanese journalist Tetsuya Abo is pulling a Snowden – he’s been living in the transit section of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport for over two months now. The 36-year-old said in an interview that his stay is politically motivated – he does not want to go back home, and is requesting Russian citizenship instead.

“It has become impossible to tell the truth in Japan,” he told the media. “There is no such thing as truth in journalism, because you cannot write the truth because of a law of secrecy. The Japanese think that they live the right way and therefore do not see any problems, but you need to pay very close attention to see that something is wrong.”


According to media reports, Abo has made the sterile zone of the airport his home since May, and authorities have no legal basis to kick him out of the international arrivals area. “A Japanese citizen is living off his own income,” airport administration said. “The airport has no problem with him staying. We expect that agencies responsible would handle the situation.”

In 2013, former CIA agent Edward Snowden sought asylum in Russia too, after leaking classified information from the U.S. National Security Agency. He spent a total of 39 days in the transit section of Sheremetyevo airport, after which he was granted asylum in Russia for a year. Abo’s story is somewhat similar, but unlike Snowden, he doesn’t appear to be in any real danger outside of Russia. His decision to stay at the airport seems voluntary, not forced.


Abo was in Moscow on Victory Day, and arrived at the airport on May 29. He purchased a ticket for a flight back home, and even got his boarding pass, but then he refused to board. His Russian guest was valid only until May 30, so he chose to remain at the airport. After two months at the place, Abo’s clothes are beginning to look worn. But the man can always be spotted in a tie and he keeps remnants of a few goodies in his bag.

When asked if he wanted to return to Japan, he said he wasn’t considering it even though he doesn’t have much money for food. “You know, for me, it is better to live like this, hungry, instead of going back to where it is all lies,” he said. “I worked for a large Japanese-American company. I’ve seen a lot on the inside. But as a journalist, I’m not allowed to write about it.”


“Actually, now I think more about how to obtain Russian citizenship,” he added. “You know, I even wrote a request to the government.” He’s still waiting for a response. In the meantime, he has a board with Russian words on it that read: “I’m hungry. Please give me food.”

Sources:, Komsomolskaya Pravda

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