Kishida hints at more sanctions on Russia over Ukraine invasion

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida indicated Saturday that Japan will consider concrete steps for additional sanctions on Russia in coordination with other Group of Seven members over its aggression in Ukraine.

“Each country is about to work on concrete steps now,” Kishida told reporters in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture. “We would like to take specific actions in partnership with other G7 members.”

He made the comments, without going into detail, a day after the G7 said in a joint statement that the group will slap further restrictions on Russia’s exports and imports of key goods and technologies, among other measures.

The statement said the G7 members will independently revoke Russia’s “most-favored nation” status under World Trade Organization rules, a status giving Moscow the best possible trade terms on key products.

The G7 groups Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States plus the European Union.

The Japanese government said Friday that it will put economic cooperation projects with Russia on hold, including an eight-point plan intended to break the deadlock over a territorial issue, as Tokyo hardens its stance on Moscow over the invasion of Ukraine.

Kishida also said the mayors of Ishinomaki and Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, offered to host refugees from Ukraine in the wake of the Russian invasion.

“Based on the requests of evacuees, I would like to think how (Japan) can host them in coordination with local authorities,” he said.

Ishinomaki and Rikuzentakata were two of the cities that were hardest hit by the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami that rocked the Tohoku region.

On Friday, the prime minister attended a ceremony in Fukushima in commemoration of the disaster.

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