Japan to sanction chip exports to Russia and freeze assets over Ukraine invasion

Semiconductors are vital components in products from cars to gaming consoles, and are in short supply globally

Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at his official residence in Tokyo on February 25, 2022. Japan announced additional sanctions against Russia in response to its attacks on Ukraine. AP
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Japan will impose sanctions on Russia targeting semiconductor exports and financial institutions, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Friday after G7 leaders agreed to punish Moscow economically for invading Ukraine.

The announcement came after Russian President Vladimir Putin unleashed a full-scale ground invasion and air assault on Thursday.

Mr Kishida said the world's third-largest economy planned "asset freezes and the suspension of visa issuance for Russian individuals and organisations" as well as asset freezes "targeting Russian financial institutions".

"Thirdly, we will sanction exports to Russian military-related organisations and exports to Russia of general-purpose goods such as semiconductors and items on a restricted list based on international agreements," he said.

Mr Kishida did not detail the scale of the sanctions or which individuals and institutions would be targeted, although local media said Bank Rossiya, Promsvyazbank and Russia's economic development bank VEB would be hit.

Semiconductors are essential components in products ranging from cars to gaming consoles, and are in short supply worldwide.

The US has also announced export controls on sensitive components that US President Joe Biden said will "cut off more than half of Russia's high-tech imports".

Japan is a key US ally and member of the Group of Seven, which held online talks overnight and agreed "to move forward on devastating packages of sanctions and other economic measures to hold Russia to account", President Biden said.

On Wednesday, Tokyo announced a ban on the issuing and trade of Russian government bonds in Japan after Moscow ordered troops into two separatist-controlled Ukrainian regions.

Russia's ambassador to Tokyo said on Friday that the "counterproductive measures" would meet with a "serious response" from Moscow, without offering details.

"There will be a response from us; I suppose there will be a serious response from us," Mikhail Galuzin said, describing the sanctions as being fuelled by "really baseless pretexts".

Japan and Russia have complex relations and did not sign a peace treaty after the Second World War because of a lingering dispute over four islands claimed by Moscow in the closing days of the conflict.

The islands, off the coast of Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido, are known as the southern Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan.

Updated: February 25, 2022, 8:43 AM