The Tokyo government is now considering sanctions on Russian oil imports after imposing sanctions on Russian banks and financial institutions under the pretext of the Ukraine crisis.
Kyodo News Agency reported today (Monday):
Japan, which considers Russia its fifth-largest supplier of crude oil, is in talks with the United States and European countries over a possible ban on Russian oil imports.
The report came after US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on Sunday that Washington and its European allies were considering a possible embargo on oil imports from Russia.
Hirokazu Matsuno, the chief secretary of the Japanese cabinet, also declined to comment on the country's relations with the United States in response to a question about a possible embargo on Russian oil imports.
Russia accounted for 3.63 percent of Japan's crude oil imports last year, according to Reuters.
Japanese Minister of Industry Koichi Hagioda also said:
While sanctions against Russia are not expected to directly affect Japan's ability to ensure a stable supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG), they can indirectly affect energy-related projects.
Hagioda explained in a speech to the Japanese parliament:
We will closely monitor (developments in Ukraine), Japan will act properly in line with the Group of Seven.
The Japanese government and Japanese companies are involved in oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in Russia, including two projects on Sakhalin Island from which American and European oil companies will exit.
Earlier, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida expressed concern about Russia's military operation in Ukraine and said that Tokyo would impose sanctions on Moscow in three areas.