TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan will strengthen sanctions against Russia to include financial institutions and military equipment exports, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Friday (Feb 25), following a similar move by Washington in retaliation after the invasion of Ukraine.
Mr Kishida told a news conference that Tokyo would take aim at Russian financial institutions and individuals with the sanctions, which would be imposed immediately, as well as halt exports of military-use goods such as semiconductors.
Japan's move came after Washington imposed new sanctions after Russian forces invaded Ukraine on Thursday in the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since World War II.
For resource-poor Japan, the most immediate impact of the crisis is likely to be seen in rising fuel prices.
Mr Kishida said Japan will do the utmost to limit the economic impact to itself from the fall-out from the Ukraine crisis, including by ensuring a stable supply of energy.
Japan had about 240 days' worth of crude oil reserves and reserves of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to last two to three weeks, Mr Kishida said, adding that the government would step up measures to stem a rise in retail fuel prices.
"The economic sanctions against Russia will not directly obstruct energy supply," Mr Kishida said.
Japan will release oil from its national reserves as needed in cooperation with the International Energy Agency (IEA) and relevant countries, industry minister Koichi Hagiuda told a separate news conference.
Mr Kishida also said he hoped that coordinated action with other members of the Group of Seven (G-7) nations against Russia would send a message to stem any aggression in Asia and other regions.