Japan Approves New Sanctions Against Russia, Freezes Assets of Putin’s Daughters

Japan Approves New Sanctions Against Russia, Freezes Assets of Putin’s Daughters
A Japanese flag flies in Saipan, Japan, on June 26, 2005. (Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images)
Aldgra Fredly

Japan’s cabinet agreed on April 12 to freeze the assets of 398 Russian individuals, including two daughters of Russian President Vladimir Putin, as part of its new sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

This round of sanctions includes freezing the assets of Putin’s daughters, Maria Vorontsova and Katerina Tikhonova, as well as those of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s wife, bringing the total number of Russian individuals sanctioned by Japan to 499.

In addition, Japan will impose sanctions on 28 additional Russian organizations and two Russian banks—Sberbank and the Alfa-Bank—which will take effect on May 12, Kyodo News reported.

“To prevent a further escalation of the crisis, realize a cease-fire as soon as possible and stop the Russian invasion of Ukraine, our country must impose tough sanctions against Moscow while working with the international community,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said.

Japan has also decided to ban imports of Russian alcoholic beverages, including vodka, as well as machinery and lumber products, beginning on April 19, with a total of 38 goods being subjected to the ban.

Commenting on Russian coal imports, Industry Minister Koichi Hagiuda said Japan “will carefully assess electricity demand for the summer and winter, as well as the influence on industries.”

Hagiuda has previously said that Japan will seek alternatives to reduce its reliance on Russian coal imports as part of its sanctions against Moscow. Russia accounted for 11 percent of Japan’s total coal imports in 2021.
On March 23, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Japan won’t pull out from the Sakhalin-2 LNG project in the Russian Far East, saying that the project is “extremely important” to Japan’s energy security.

Japan’s Mitsui and Mitsubishi hold 12.5 and 10.5 percent stakes in the Sakhalin-2 project, respectively, while Russia’s state-run Gazprom PJSC owns 50 percent. Shell, which holds a 27.5 percent stake, exited the project in response to the war in Ukraine.

The country has imposed a slew of sanctions on Russia over the war in Ukraine, including sanctions targeting 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.
To support Ukraine, Kishida said on March 4 that Japan will supply Ukraine with defense equipment, such as bulletproof vests and helmets, and pledged to accept Ukrainian refugees even if they have no relatives in Japan.
Russia placed Japan on its “unfriendly nations” list and suspended peace treaty talks with Japan in retaliation for Tokyo’s sanctions against its invasion of Ukraine, a decision Japan has strongly condemned.