NHK aired footage showing Prime Minister Kishida commenting on Russian President Putin’s decision to recognize two regions controlled by pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine as “independent.” “The move can never be condoned since it violates the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and international law,” the premier said to the press just before noon. “We denounce it strongly. We are watching the unfolding developments with great concern. We will respond sternly, including by adopting sanctions, in close coordination with the G7 and the rest of the international community.”
Commercial broadcasters noted that Foreign Minister Hayashi and Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno both used exactly the same language as the prime minister in criticizing the latest Russian move, with NTV adding that Tokyo’s sanctions on Moscow will probably be the same in scope as those to be imposed by the other G7 members, such as a ban on semiconductor exports. According to a GOJ source cited by the network, an official decision on such punitive measures will not be made until it has been confirmed that Russian troops have entered Ukraine.