By Yamaguchi Atsuo
Several U.S. and UK oil giants have decided to withdraw from crude oil and liquified natural gas (LNG) projects in the Russian oblast of Sakhalin. The Japanese business community is split over the fact that the Japanese government and Japanese companies have not taken a clear stance.
On March 15, Sakurada Kengo, chairman of Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives), said, “To be frank, I don’t think Japanese companies are very different (from American or British ones).” He thus once again indicated that Japanese companies should also consider withdrawing, just as he had as early as March 1 when he said, “I cannot imagine (Japan) continuing to do business with Russia as if nothing has happened while that nation repeatedly violates international law.”
In contrast, Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Mimura Akio said at a press conference on March 3 that Japanese companies should continue their involvement, saying “It may feel satisfying to say that we won’t do business anymore [with Russia], but that would have a major impact on our lives.” He continued: “If Japan were to pull its investment, where do you think that energy would go? It would go to China most likely. It would not cause Russia any inconvenience.”
In light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, British oil major Shell announced its withdrawal from Sakhalin-2 and ExxonMobil declared it will discontinue operations at Sakhalin-1.