Japan Unleashes More Sanctions on Russia Amid Canceled Peace Treaty Talks

By Aldgra Fredly
Aldgra Fredly
Aldgra Fredly
Aldgra Fredly is a freelance writer based in Malaysia, covering Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.
March 25, 2022 Updated: March 28, 2022

Japan’s government said March 25 it will freeze the assets of 25 more Russian individuals and ban exports to 81 Russian organizations, stepping up pressure on Moscow to halt its attack on Ukraine.

The move follows Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s statement on March 22 that Japan will remain persistent in its sanctions against Russia, despite that such actions have resulted in Russia abandoning peace treaty talks with Japan.

Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa said at a Group of Seven (G7) meeting on March 23 that Japan has been “reviewing possible measures” to implement the revocation of Russia’s most favored nation, which will result in higher taxes on Russian goods.

“Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is an extremely serious situation that shakes the foundation of the existing international order, including the multilateral trading system centered on the [World Trade Organization],” Yoshimasa was quoted saying by the Foreign Ministry.

“The G7 must coordinate closely and take united actions in order to safeguard the rules-based international order,” he added.

Japan has imposed a slew of sanctions on Russia over the war in Ukraine, including sanctions targeting Russian President Vladimir Putin and several other Russian leaders. It also restricted exports of certain goods to the country and banned Russian banks from the SWIFT global interbank network.

Russia has put Japan on its “unfriendly” nation list in retaliation for Tokyo’s sanctions against its invasion of Ukraine. The Russian Foreign Ministry said Monday that Moscow was suspending peace treaty talks with Japan.

Russia has also suspended visa-free travel for Japanese citizens and withdrawn from talks with Japan on expanding economic activities.

In response, Kishida opposed Russia’s decision to suspend peace treaty talks, claiming that the sanctions were a result of Moscow’s aggression on Ukraine. He said that the decision appeared to be an attempt to deflect responsibility for Japan–Russia relations.

“Russia’s actions are extremely unreasonable and totally unacceptable,” Kishida was quoted saying by local outlet Kyodo News. “We strongly protest.”

Kishida stated that Japan’s goal of pursuing a peace treaty with Russia remained unchanged, but added that Japan must “resolutely continue to sanction Russia” in cooperation with the international community.

Japan and Russia have been unable to sign a peace treaty due to their disagreement over the Kuril islands, known as the Northern Territories in Japan, which Moscow seized at the end of World War II.

Japan has pledged to extend $100 million in emergency humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and to accept Ukrainian refugees even if they have no relatives in Japan. Kishida said on March 4 that Japan will also supply Ukraine with defense equipment.

Aldgra Fredly is a freelance writer based in Malaysia, covering Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.