Japan on Wednesday announced new sanctions against Russia in response to its annexation of Crimea and the crisis in eastern Ukraine, bringing it closer in line with steps taken by the U.S. and the European Union.
The new sanctions include restrictions on arms exports and a ban on Russian banks from issuing securities in Japan.
"This has been under consideration as we emphasize our relationship with the G-7," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters, referring to the Group of Seven leading nations.
Japan had earlier announced a series of steps against Russia following its annexation of the Crimean peninsula and support for separatists in eastern Ukraine. But those measures mainly targeted individuals and were considered lighter than those imposed by the U.S. and the EU as Tokyo sought to keep a diplomatic door open with Moscow.
"The new sanctions won't have much of an impact on Russia but reflect how Japan wants to maintain solidarity with its allies," said Masafumi Kaneko, senior research fellow for international and strategic studies at the PHP Institute in Tokyo.
As we earlier reported, Tokyo had postponed Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan planned for this autumn due to friction over the Ukraine crisis.