Despite rising energy costs, Japan to maintain sanctions on Russia

Premier Kishida directs officials to ‘address rising energy prices prompted’ by Ukraine war.

Despite rising energy costs, Japan to maintain sanctions on Russia

Amid rising living costs in energy-deficient Japan, the government on Tuesday reiterated to maintain sanctions on Russia over its war on Ukraine.

However, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida directed officials to “craft measures to address rising energy prices prompted by the ongoing war,” Tokyo-based Kyodo News reported.

He was virtually addressing a Cabinet meeting since he contracted COVID-19 last week and is working remotely from an official residence in a Tokyo suburb.

Briefing the media after the meeting, Japan’s top spokesperson Hirokazu Matsuno said the Kishida government “will maintain sanctions on Russia while working in tandem with other G7 nations.”

Russia attacked Ukraine in February and Kyiv claimed more than 9,000 deaths. Millions have been forced to leave the country due to the war.

Japan joined the US-led western nations to sanction Russia. Tokyo has sanctioned Russian President Vladimir Putin, many of his officials, and Russian businesses.

But it has stopped short of reducing its dependence on the import of energy supplies from Russia.

Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said Kishida instructed him to “continue Japan’s diplomatic responses, including imposing sanctions, while also ensuring the safety of Japanese nationals in Russia and Ukraine and securing Japan's system of defense.”

“Unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force could occur in the Indo-Pacific region as well,” Japan’s Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada told reporters, after the Cabinet meeting.

Japan’s stance, akin to G7 nations on Russia, comes while the country of over 127 million people has seen consumer prices rising 2.4% which is the sharpest increase in about 7-and-a-half years.

The government data released last week revealed the core consumer price index has seen an upward trend for the 11th consecutive month.

Hüseyin Demir