Japan in step with G7 over sanctioning Russia
Japan will in principle take concerted action with the Group of Seven nations in imposing economic sanctions on Russia if that nation invades Ukraine, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.
"We reconfirmed our cooperation through a candid exchange of views [on the situation in Ukraine]," Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi told reporters online on Saturday. Hayashi was in Germany to attend the G7 foreign ministers meeting.
When Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula in southern Ukraine in 2014, relations between Tokyo and Moscow were good, with then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin frequently holding talks.
The United States and the European Union imposed economic sanctions on Russia at the time, but Japan implemented only minor measures, including the suspension of negotiations on easing visa requirements, as it had high hopes for the resolution of the northern territories issue.
In light of the criticism from Europe and the United States at the time, as well as the current stagnation in peace treaty negotiations — including those related to the northern territories — the Japanese government will likely consider taking more effective measures this time than it did following the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.
Japan will "choose feasible sanctions based on the current circumstances of the two countries while cooperating with the G7," a senior Foreign Ministry official said.
The government's current stance reflects changes in the regional situation in Asia.