Japan likely to join any US-led sanctions on Russia: Media

Japan in the past has taken a softer diplomatic approach to Russia than the United States. PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan will likely join US-led sanctions on Russia, including a ban on chip and other key technology exports, should President Vladimir Putin order an invasion of Ukraine, the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Tuesday (Feb 22).

A decision by the world's No. 3 economy to join its US ally and other G7 industrialised nations in threatening economic sanctions comes as the crisis in Europe deepens, with the Russian leader on Monday ordering troops into two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine that Russia now recognises as independent states.

The technology export ban Japan is mulling would be broader than that imposed on Russia in 2014 after it occupied the Crimean peninsula, with Tokyo also mulling tighter restrictions on Russian banks, the Yomiuri said.

Government ministers were not immediately available for comment.

Japan in the past has taken a softer diplomatic approach to Russia than the United States, with successive Japanese leaders courting Putin in an attempt to secure the return of islands occupied by Russian forces at the end of World War II.

Japan also buys gas from its neighbour for its energy needs.

More recently, however, Tokyo has become concerned about a revival in Russian military activity in East Asia and Moscow's deepening security cooperation with neighbouring China.

Although Japan is no longer a major exporter of semiconductors, with only a 10 per cent share of the global chip market, it is a key manufacturer of specialised electronic components, such as automotive chips and image sensors, and dominates in other industrial fields, such as high tech manufacturing equipment.

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