Ready to join US led sanctions on Russia: Japan

On Tuesday, Japan said it is ready to join the United States and allied nations in imposing economic sanctions against Russia, in the event Russia President Vladimir Putin orders an invasion of Ukraine,

The statement from Japan, the world’s third biggest economy, comes at a time of deepening crisis in Europe and after Moscow recognized the two breakaway regions in Ukraine.

That action was “unacceptable and a violation of international law,” said Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

New Japanese sanctions on Russia, would include a ban on semiconductor chips and other key technology exports and tighter restrictions on Russian banks, said a report from the Yomiuri newspaper.

Japan is no longer a major exporter of semiconductors and has only a 10% market share of the global chip market, it is a key manufacturer of specialised electronic components, including automotive chips and image sensors, and dominates in other industrial fields, such as high tech manufacturing equipment.

On Tuesday, Kishida and other government officials did not elaborate on what Japanese sanctions would effective come to mean.

Japan’s stance vis-à-vis Russia is in contrast with the those of other Japanese administrations in the past, which have typically courted Russia in an attempt to secure the return of islands occupied by Russian forces at the end of World War Two.

Japan is dependent on Russia for its energy needs. Last year, Russia provided more than 12% of Japan’s thermal coal, and almost a tenth of its liquefied natural gas. “Ukraine is facing a tense situation now, so we must firmly watch how it could affect Japan’s economy,” opined Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki at a briefing on Tuesday.

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