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Thu, 02/24/2022 - 01:42
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Japan Announces Sanctions on Russia

Tokyo, Feb. 23 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced a set of sanctions on Wednesday in response to Russia's recognition of separatist regions in eastern Ukraine as independent. Japan will suspend visa issuance to people related to the breakaway Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, freeze their assets, ban trade with the two areas and prohibit the issuance and trading of Russian sovereign bonds, Kishida told reporters. He announced the sanctions after talks with government officials, including Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno and Takeo Akiba, secretary-general of the National Security Secretariat. "We press for Russia's return to efforts to resolve the situation through the diplomatic process," Kishida said. But critics say the Japanese sanctions are limited to the breakaway Ukrainian regions and will thus have only a limited effect. U.S. sanctions include a freeze in assets held by senior officials in the administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Japanese measures do not include sanctions on senior Putin administration officials. In addition, the amount of Russian sovereign bonds issued in Japan is relatively small. A senior Japanese Foreign Ministry official said the Japanese sanctions are restrained. Kishida said, however, that if things get worse, Japan "will take additional measures swiftly in cooperation with the international community, including its Group of Seven partners." A phone conversation between Kishida and U.S. President Joe Biden, expected to take place this week, has been postponed, according to a source close to the Japanese prime minister. Kishida aims to keep in close contact with Biden on the Ukraine crisis on occasions including a virtual G-7 summit set for Thursday. Kishida said that his government will "take every possible measure to protect Japanese citizens," including sending chartered flights for evacuation. Referring to soaring crude oil prices, he said the government "will not rule out any option to limit the impact on livelihood and business activities as much as possible." The Japanese industry ministry urged businesses and groups to take further precautions against possible cyberattacks. It called for increased awareness of threats from cyberattacks. "Given the current situation, the potential risk of cyberattacks is increasing in Japan," the ministry said in a warning issued after the country announced sanctions on Russia. END