All national dailies reported on Prime Minister Kishida’s remarks to the press at the Kantei on Tuesday in which he condemned Russia’s recognition of the independence of the two pro-Russian separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine and its decision to send troops there for “peacekeeping” as violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. The premier also said Moscow’s latest moves run counter to the Minsk agreement signed by Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists. Kishida added that Japan will closely coordinate with the other G7 nations and the rest of the international community on a tough response including sanctions.
Mainichi wrote that in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Kishida administration is considering joining the U.S.-led initiative to restrict exports to Russia of semiconductors and other high-tech items that could be used for military purposes and imposing financial sanctions. The paper speculated that the GOJ attaches importance to the solidarity of the G7 for the purpose of sending a warning to China, quoting an unnamed senior MOFA official as saying that the G7 will send the wrong message to Beijing if it allows its unity to be undermined. The paper added that Tokyo remains cautious about the idea of including the energy sector in the envisaged sanctions on Russia because Japan depends on Russia for some of its LNG imports. In this regard, Japan is stepping up its coordination with Germany, which heavily depends on Russia for energy supplies, the paper wrote, noting that Kishida spoke by phone with German Chancellor Scholz on Tuesday to discuss how to respond to Moscow’s moves.
Nikkei wrote that the GOJ has begun making arrangements to impose economic sanctions on Russia by restricting exports of semiconductors and other advanced technology. The paper also wrote that the government will discuss such measures as cutting off transactions with major Russian banks and freezing the assets and restricting the entry to Japan of senior Russian government officials. The paper wrote that the United States, Japan, and Europe will be put to the test over whether they will be able to impose effective sanctions on Moscow in a unified manner. The paper also wrote that Tokyo is concerned that the international community will send the wrong message to China if it fails to respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, noting that Kishida “strongly condemned” Russia on Tuesday, marking a shift from his previous statements that Japan was closely monitoring the situation with “grave concern.”
Yomiuri wrote that while closely watching developments in the crisis, the GOJ is making preparations to impose financial sanctions and considering joining the U.S.-led export restrictions on semiconductors and other high-tech products.
Asahi wrote that although the GOJ appears to be hoping to avoid a decisive confrontation with Russia in view of its peace treaty negotiations with Moscow, some in the ruling LDP are calling on the government to respond firmly out of concern that a failure to prevent a Russian invasion of Ukraine could fuel China’s ambitions regarding Taiwan. Chairman Sato Masahisa of the LDP Foreign Affairs Division stated at a division meeting on Tuesday that the government should address the crisis in Ukraine as an issue connected to the stability of Taiwan.