Tokyo, 2 December 2002 (RFE/RL) -- A search is under way in Japan for Belarus's former ambassador to Tokyo. Petr Kravchenka, who had served as Tokyo ambassador since 1998, was removed from his post by President Alyaksandr Lukashenka on 19 November.
Belarusian officials say he has refused orders to return home. The officials say Belarus is working with the Japanese Foreign Ministry to try to contact him.
The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo today denied that Kravchenka had sought refuge at the embassy. Spokesman Patrick Linehan said the U.S. Embassy has no information about the Belarusian ambassador and that he was never at the embassy.
Kravchenka is reported to have become active in the Belarusian opposition movement since becoming Japanese ambassador and been critical of Lukashenka.