| 4 March 2024, Monday |

Japan to sanction chip exports to Russia and freeze assets over Ukraine invasion

After G7 leaders decided to punish Moscow economically for invading Ukraine, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that Japan will impose sanctions on Russia targeting semiconductor exports and banking institutions.

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-fledged ground and air offensive.

Mr Kishida said the world’s third-largest economy was planning “asset freezes and visa suspensions for Russian persons and organizations,” as well as asset restrictions “targeting Russian financial institutions.”

“Third, based on international agreements, we will embargo shipments to Russian military-related organizations, as well as general-purpose commodities such as semiconductors and items on a restricted list,” he stated.

Mr Kishida did not specify the scope of the restrictions or who would be affected, while local media reported that Bank Rossiya, Promsvyazbank, and Russia’s economic development bank VEB would be struck.

Semiconductors are critical components in a broad range of items, from vehicles to gaming consoles, and they are in limited supply throughout the world.

Following the invasion of Ukraine, the United States and its allies have increased sanctions against Russia.
The US has also placed export curbs on key components, which will “shut off more than half of Russia’s high-tech imports,” according to US President Joe Biden.

President Biden stated that Japan, a critical US partner and member of the Group of Seven, met online overnight and decided “to go forward with punishing bundles of sanctions and other economic measures to hold Russia accountable.”

After Moscow deployed soldiers into two separatist-controlled Ukrainian regions, Tokyo put a ban on the issue and trading of Russian government bonds in Japan on Wednesday.

The “counterproductive actions” will be met with a “severe response” from Moscow, Russia’s envoy to Tokyo warned on Friday, without providing details.

“I think there will be a significant retaliation from us,” Mikhail Galuzin said of the penalties, which he described as being fueled by “very bogus pretexts.”

Because of a persistent disagreement over four islands claimed by Moscow in the last days of the war, Japan and Russia did not sign a peace treaty after WWII.

The islands are known in Russia as the southern Kurils and in Japan as the Northern Territories. They are located off the coast of Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido.

  • AFP