Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin speaks during a joint press announcement with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. He is not pictured at Kishida's official residence in Tokyo on May 11. Pool Photo via AP Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said the possibility of her country joining NATO was for the security of its citizens and called for the international community to unite in stepping up sanctions against Russia during talks Wednesday in Japan.
Finland and Sweden are poised to announce their positions on NATO membership this week in a move that could be a serious blow to Russia as it struggles to make decisive gains in Ukraine.
Marin said that if Finland makes this historic step it will be for the security of our own citizens, it is for the security of our own citizens. Joining NATO will strengthen the whole international community that stands for common values. Marin and Kishida discussed Russia's horrible aggression against Ukraine and its consequences. She said that Moscow's sanctions need to cover energy, finance and transport sectors more broadly than now. Kishida thanked Marin for traveling all the way from Helsinki while her government decides on NATO membership. He expressed Japan's eagerness to step up cooperation with Finland in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and also to ensure peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region where Japan is dealing with threats from North Korea and the rise of China's military power.
Kishida and Marin agreed to pursue tough sanctions against Moscow and provide utmost support for Ukraine. He said that change to the status quo by force is not permissible no matter where in the world.
Japan has joined other industrialized and EU countries in imposing sanctions after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. There's growing fear in Tokyo that the war might cause China to take more aggressive military actions in the East and South China Seas, where Beijing's vast territorial claims overlap with those of its smaller neighbors.
Japan has frozen assets of Russian leaders, including President Vladimir Putin, and government officials and billionaires close to him, as well as key banks, as well as key banks, and has withdrawn trade, and announced a decision to phase out imports of Russian coal and crude oil.