Ukraine Crisis: Japan says its ready to join U.S.-led sanctions on Russia

Japan said on Tuesday it was ready to join the United States and other G7 industrialized nations in imposing sanctions on Russia if President Vladimir Putin orders an invasion of Ukraine,

Confirmed by the world’s No. 3 economy as the crisis deepens in Europe, the Russian leader ordered troops on Monday into two separate areas in eastern Ukraine that Russia now recognizes as independent states.

The action was “unacceptable and a violation of international law”, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who called on Putin on Thursday to urge restraint, told reporters. He said Japan was prepared for a strong response, which could include sanctions.

The White House said late Monday that it would announce new sanctions on Russia on Monday “in response to Moscow’s decisions and today’s action”.

“We are coordinating with allies and partners on that announcement,” a White House spokesman said.

The Yomiuri newspaper previously reported that the new sanctions by Japan, which would join the sanctions imposed on Russia in 2014 after its annexation of Crimea, would include tougher sanctions on semiconductor chips and other key technology exports and Russian banks.

Although Japan is no longer a major exporter of semiconductors, with only a 10% share of the global chip market, it is a major manufacturer of specialty electronic components such as automotive chips and image sensors, and dominates other industrial sectors, such as high-tech manufacturing. Device.

Kishida and other government officials who spoke on Tuesday did not say what sanctions Japan was considering.

Japan’s tough stance against Russia contrasts with the soft diplomatic approach to Moscow by the Japanese administration in the past. He saluted Putin in attempting to secure the return of the islands occupied by Russian forces at the end of World War II.

Japan’s delicate diplomacy has also been shaped by its reliance on Russia for some of its energy needs. In 2021, Russia provided more than 12% of Japan’s thermal coal and about a tenth of its liquefied natural gas.

However, that economic pain has been overshadowed in recent years by a revival in Russian military activity in East Asia and growing concern about Moscow’s deeper security cooperation with neighboring China.

“Ukraine is now facing a tense situation, so we must look strongly at how this can affect Japan’s economy,” Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said at a briefing on Tuesday.

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