Japan Imposes New Sanctions on Russia – On Tuesday, Japan approved new sanctions against Russia including the freezing of assets of 398 Russian citizens, including the two daughters of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the wife of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Japan also announced the banning of imports of a variety of Russian goods, including vodka.
The announcement comes after the United States and some European countries introduced similar sanctions last week. Japan will ban all Japanese citizens and entities from making new investments in Russia, and the assets of a further 28 Russian financial institutions were also frozen.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said during a regular press conference that the sanctions were implemented in the hope that it would add increased pressure on Russia to end its invasion of Ukraine.
“To prevent a further escalation of the crisis, realize a cease-fire as soon as possible and stop the Russian invasion of Ukraine, our country must impose tough sanctions against Moscow while working with the international community,” Matsuno said.
One trade ministry official also revealed how sanctions against Russian goods were carefully planned to ensure that the Japanese economy would not be impacted too severely. Goods that can no longer be imported from Russia can either be imported from elsewhere or produced domestically.
Japan Tops Up Natural Gas Reserves
Also this week, the Japanese government asked its nation’s power companies to increase their reserves of liquefied natural gas and to share their energy resources, according to an unnamed source familiar with the plans.
Reuters reports that utility companies in Japan are already struggling for new energy sources as Japan continues to ramp up sanctions against Russia. Those problems have been made even worse after Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Friday that he would implement a ban on the importation of Russian coal.
Japanese power companies were reportedly directed by the nation’s industry ministry to stock up on as much liquefied natural gas as possible over the next three weeks. Gas and electricity companies in Japan were also reportedly urged by the government to sell each other spare gas rather than selling it overseas.
While tough, just 3% of Japan’s electricity production comes from Russian LNG – meaning the goal is entirely reachable. However, with an earthquake in March knocking out one nuclear power plant and the effect of losing the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011 still affecting the country, Japan doesn’t have much room for error.
Fail to secure sufficient sources of energy, and Japan could find itself in urgent need of a new fossil fuel supplier or face an embarrassing climbdown on Russian energy sanctions.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.