Japan expands sanctions over Russia’s war in Ukraine

Tokyo adds 57 Russian new organisations to its trade blacklist in latest measures to punish Moscow.

Japan has expanded its sanctions targeting Russian firms and organisations [Stanislav Kogiku/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Japan has expanded its sanctions targeting Russia over its war in Ukraine, banning Russian diamonds for non-industrial use and adding dozens of firms and organisations to its trade blacklist.

The expanded export blacklist announced on Friday includes 57 organisations in Russia and six organisations in the United Arab Emirates, Syria, Uzbekistan and Armenia.

The latest measures bring the total number of Russian organisations under sanctions to 494.

Twenty-seven entities from Belarus, one of Russia’s closest allies, have also been sanctioned.

The expanded sanctions come after the Group of Seven (G7) countries earlier this month held a virtual summit with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to show solidarity with Kyiv.

Under Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Japan has taken a tougher stand against Moscow than any other country in the region, where governments have been hesitant to take sides in the war.

During the G7 summit in Hiroshima in May, Kishida pledged “unwavering solidarity” with Ukraine while condemning attempts anywhere to use force to change the status quo.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a high-profile visit to Hiroshima during that summit to urge the international community to do everything it can to ensure Russia is the “last aggressor”.

Tokyo, a key US ally and the only Asian member of the G7, has cast Moscow’s invasion as a threat to peace everywhere and linked the fate of Ukraine to the security of nearby Taiwan, which China has threatened to “reunify” with the Chinese mainland if necessary.

Moscow last year blacklisted more than 380 Japanese parliamentarians in retaliation for Tokyo’s stance on the war, accusing the lawmakers of “adopting an unfriendly, anti-Russian position notably by expressing unfounded accusations against our country concerning the special military operation in Ukraine”.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies