Japan and other G-7 leaders strengthen Russian sanctions
TOKYO — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and other Group of Seven leaders agreed to further sanctions against Russia over its war on Ukraine at an online G7 summit on Friday, marking the one-year anniversary of the start of the invasion.
The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to “increase our diplomatic, financial and military support for Ukraine, increase the costs of Russia and those who support its war effort,” and offset negative impacts on the rest of the world, especially the most vulnerable people. – says the announcement of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The G7 countries reaffirmed their concerted action to “counter further Russia’s illegal aggression” and pledged to block Russia’s access to military equipment and technology, and called on other countries to stop providing military support to Russia.
Kishida, who chairs the G-7 this year, also announced that Japan would impose additional sanctions on Russia, including freezing the assets of some 120 individuals and organizations and banning the export of drones and other materials that could be used for military purposes.
“In order to absolutely not allow a unilateral change of the status quo, we must strongly support Ukraine and the sanctions against Russia to regain peace and international order based on the rule of law,” Kishida told a news conference before a teleconference hosted by the G- with 7 other leaders and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi.
“The G-7 serves as the nucleus of international engagement for this,” he said.
At the summit, Kishida planned to discuss the latest developments in Russia’s war against Ukraine, how to support Ukraine’s recovery and strengthen G7 solidarity with the war-torn country.
Kishida expressed growing concern about China supplying Russia with potentially lethal weapons and said Japan was working with the G7 and other countries to send a “clear message” to third countries to stop supplying Russia with arms.
Kishida also expressed “strong concern” over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement on Tuesday that he would suspend Moscow’s participation in the Russia-US arms control treaty.
“Russia’s nuclear threat is unacceptable and nuclear weapons should never be used,” said Kishida, whose constituency includes Hiroshima. “As the only country in the world to have suffered nuclear attacks, Russia’s 77-year history of using non-nuclear weapons cannot be tarnished.”
As the world marked the one-year anniversary of Russia’s war on Ukraine, about 1,000 people protested Friday night in Tokyo’s Hibiya Park, holding signs that read: “Russia, stop invading Ukraine.” There were protesters outside the UN University in Tokyo. And in the Zenkoji temple in Nagano, central Japan, about 30 monks prayed for the lives lost in the war.
The top diplomats of Ukraine, the United States, Great Britain, Sweden, the EU, Lithuania and Sweden called for solidarity with Ukraine and condemned Russia at a joint press conference in Tokyo. According to Rahm Emanuel, the US ambassador to Japan, Putin is wrong when he accuses NATO of eastward expansion. He said the newest NATO members expanded westward of their own free will because the West “attracts” freedom, liberty and respect for individuals.
Also on Friday, nuclear and security experts from the non-profit Sasakawa Peace Foundation made recommendations to the Kishida government to initiate discussions at the G-7 summit in Hiroshima on creating a framework to protect nuclear facilities in conflict zones, in response to Russia’s request. repeated attacks on the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant in Ukraine.
Because of its pacifist principles, Japan’s aid to Ukraine has been limited to non-combat military equipment such as helmets, bulletproof vests and drones, as well as humanitarian supplies, including generators.
Kishida is the only G-7 leader who has not visited Ukraine. Pressure is mounting at home for Kishida to visit Kiev before hosting the G7 summit in Hiroshima. Asked about a possible visit, Kishida said he was considering a visit, taking into account ways to ensure security and confidentiality, but no official decision had been made.
Japan has joined the United States and European nations in sanctioning Russia over its invasion and providing humanitarian and economic aid to Ukraine. Japan has reacted quickly, fearing the potential fallout from a war in East Asia, where China’s military has become increasingly assertive and heightened tensions over self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing views as its territory.
Kishida also expressed Japan’s support for Ukraine at the online G-7. This includes the new $5.5 billion in financial aid that Kishida unveiled on Monday, bringing total Japanese aid to Ukraine to more than $7 billion.
Japan has taken in more than 2,000 displaced Ukrainians and helped them with housing, jobs and education, a rare move for a country known for its strict immigration policies.