"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Press Conference on Sanctions and Other Measures in Light of the Situation in Ukraine

[Date] February 23, 2022
[Source] Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet
[Notes] Provisional Translation
[Full text]

On February 22, Russia proceeded with a series of measures such as the ratification of treaties with two so-called "republics" that are part of Ukraine and the decision by the Russian Federation Council regarding the use of military forces outside of its territory. Such actions clearly constitute an infringement of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and are in violation of international law and Japan strongly condemns them once again. The Government of Japan strongly urges Russia to return to its efforts to resolve the situation through a diplomatic process.

I have just received a report from a senior official of the relevant government department concerning developments in the situation and various countries' responses. As the situation becomes increasingly tense, Japan will continue to monitor developments with grave concern.

In addition, from the viewpoint of dealing with this issue in cooperation with the international community, Japan has decided to adopt the following sanctions. First, we will suspend the issuance of visas and freeze the assets of those who are related to the two so-called "republics"; second, we will introduce a ban on imports and exports to and from the two "republics"; and third, we will prohibit the issuance and offering of new sovereign bonds by the Russian government in Japan. We have just finalized the details of these measures and have issued instructions to proceed promptly with the necessary procedures.

If the situation worsens in the future, we will work with the G7 as well as the international community to ensure that further measures are implemented swiftly. We will also do everything possible to ensure the safety of Japanese nationals in Ukraine. We have set up a temporary liaison office in Lviv in the western part of the country to carry out evacuation measures and other tasks for the protection of Japanese nationals. We have also chartered a plane for evacuation in a neighboring country. We will continue to take all possible measures to protect Japanese nationals.

Regarding the stable supply of energy, first of all, we will work in cooperation with international partners to stabilize the crude oil market. At present, the national government and the private sector have a combined stockpile of about 240 days' worth of crude oil. For liquefied natural gas (LNG) as well, electric power companies and gas companies have enough stock to last for two to three weeks. As such, we believe that the current situation will not immediately pose a major obstacle to the stable supply of energy.

We are also working assertively to make preparations against a sharp rise in the price of crude oil. Even if the price of crude oil continues to rise further, the Government of Japan will carefully consider and respond to the situation as a whole, without excluding any options in terms of what would be the most effective and efficient measures, so as to minimize the impact on people's daily lives and on business activities. With the situation in Ukraine becoming increasingly tense, the Government is prepared to work closely with the international community to resolve the situation.

(On the timing of economic sanctions)

Japan's basic stance and the framework of our economic sanctions are as I have just outlined. We will be working out the details from now. Some of the measures may need to go through due formalities and will enter into force after that. Please check with the government officials in-charge for details.

(On actions to be taken in the event of a hypothetical Russian military invasion of Ukraine)

I understand that the situation remains uncertain and that there are many possible scenarios. If the situation does deteriorate, I recognize the need to move swiftly to take further actions in cooperation with the G7 as well as the international community. At any rate, our basic stance is to keep ourselves thoroughly informed on how circumstances are evolving in concrete terms and maintain effective communication and exchange information with the leaders of the United States and European nations as we decide on our course of action.

(Possibilities of export controls as a potential future action)

What the Government has ascertained and confirmed thus far is what I just explained earlier. As it is not possible to predict how the situation will develop from here, we will decide on any further actions we may take by keeping ourselves thoroughly informed on how the situation is evolving as well as the actions taken by other nations and exchanging information with other parties. It is difficult at this juncture to offer answers regarding specific points, including the points you just raised.

(On measures to respond to rising oil prices)

As I have reiterated many times, we will not rule out any option. We will need to keep ourselves up to date with the situation as it develops and determine what measures will be effective. We will closely observe future developments and changes in oil prices in order to determine anything in concrete terms. And I state that when doing so, we will not rule out any options.

(On whether or not the Japanese Government perceives Russia as having commenced its invasion of Ukraine)

Again, I have reiterated that the series of actions taken by Russia are an infringement of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and constitute a violation of international law, and that these actions are unacceptable, and we condemn them in the strongest terms. We take a stand based on these assessments and understandings of the current situation. We will continue to monitor the developments closely and maintain good communication with Europe and the US as we take appropriate responses.