| 29 February 2024, Thursday |

Japan may take more action vs Russia, could impact energy sector -lawmaker

A top ruling-party senator said on Sunday that Japan may take more measures in reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which may have a substantial impact on Japan’s energy sector, while cautioning against a complete ban on Russia’s oil and gas use.

Sanctions against Moscow, such as asset freezes, bans on high-tech exports, and the exclusion of some Russian banks from the SWIFT international payments network, are having a significant impact, according to Hiroshige Seko, the Liberal Democratic Party’s upper house secretary-general.

“The most important thing is to allow Russia to adjust its behavior,” Seko remarked. “There’s a chance we’ll apply more sanctions,” he says, “which might have consequences for the energy sector through banking institutions participating in transactions.”

“Sanctions might have a significant impact on the livelihoods of (Japanese) people, so we would have to seek their understanding for the sake of solidarity with Ukraine,” Seko said on NHK’s political debate show.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a week ago, a slew of major corporations have halted operations in the country.

Russia’s efforts in Ukraine are referred to as a “special operation.”

The Japanese government and firms own shares in Russian oil and LNG projects, including two on Sakhalin Island that partners Exxon Mobil Corp and Shell PLC have declared they will abandon.

“If we abandon the Sakhalin 1 and 2 projects, (oil and natural gas) supplies would be disrupted, while nations like China, which are in desperate need of LNG, will be able to obtain it at a low cost,” Seko said, referring to the sums Japan incurred in building the projects. “We have to think about it realistically.”

Japan announced on Thursday that the assets of four Russian banks will be frozen beginning April 2, bringing the total number of such measures imposed by Tokyo to seven.

Russian oligarchs’ assets have been frozen, as have the assets of Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko, who has backed Russia’s invasion. It also agreed to prohibit shipments to Belarus.

  • Reuters