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Japan will target chip exports to Russia with sanction

Japan will impose sanctions on Russia targeting semiconductor exports and financial institutions, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said 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.

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 told reporters.

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

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

The United States 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 virtual talks overnight and agreed “to move forward on devastating packages of sanctions and other economic measures to hold Russia to account”, 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 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 told reporters, describing the sanctions as being fuelled by “really baseless pretexts.”

Japan and Russia have complex relations and did not sign a peace treaty after World War II 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. AFP

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