Japan’s economy, commerce, and industry minister, Koichi Hagiuda, warned on Thursday that immediately following on a move to cut off Russian oil supplies over the Russian invasion of Ukraine would be “tough.”
After the European Union’s executive recommended the strongest package of penalties against Moscow yet on Wednesday, including a crude oil embargo, Hagiuda made the comment during a visit to Washington.
President Joe Biden of the United States indicated this week that he will explore additional sanctions against Russia with other leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) major economies, which might put pressure on Japan, which is concerned about the impact of the oil embargo.
“Given Japan has its limit on resources, we would face some difficulty to keep in step immediately” with other countries, Hagiuda told reporters.
During a meeting with US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, the two agreed on core principles for semiconductor cooperation, including diversifying chip-making capacity, increasing transparency, responding to shortages quickly, and investing in R&D.
“As the world is destabilising after the war in Ukraine, coordination with like-minded countries is becoming more and more important. (Today’s) talks served as a major step towards advancing the Japan-U.S. relationship.”
In a separate meeting with US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Hagiuda requested that the US increase LNG output to help Japan reduce its reliance on Russia for energy.
For the fiscal year ending in March, Russia’s oil imports accounted for 4% of Japan’s total oil imports. Natural gas from Moscow accounted for 9 per cent of Tokyo’s imports, while coal from Russia accounted for 11 per cent.
Japan will provide public funding to assist Japanese companies in developing LNG projects in the United States, according to Hagiuda.
In a joint statement, the two sides agreed to develop initiatives to address sustainable energy technology and energy security on a regular basis in light of the Ukraine issue.
(Adapted from ChannelNewsAsia.com)