Japan says no plan to pull out of Sakhalin energy projects

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Japan says no plan to pull out of Sakhalin energy projects

TOKYO Kyodo Japan has no plans to pull out of two major energy projects off the Russian island of Sakhalin, and the policy does not contradict the sanctions it has placed on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, a senior government official said yesterday.

If we give up our stakes and Russia gets it, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiji Kihara said on an NHK television that energy imports could be more costly for Japan in the long term.

He said if Japan's stakes in the Sakhalin 1 and 2 oil and liquefied natural gas projects are obtained by other countries, there is a chance that those who don't impose sanctions against Russia will benefit.

The Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that Japan will ban Russian oil imports in principle, as well as other Group of Seven major developed countries. Kishida noted that the projects on Sakhalin, a large island north of the Japanese archipelago, are important in terms of energy security.

Asked about the possibility of Japan tightening its sanctions against Russia and phasing out or banning LNG imports from the resource-rich country, Kihara said the government will think about how to deal with it when it becomes necessary in light of the unity of the G-7, including Britain, Germany and the United States.

Industry minister Koichi Hagiuda suggested that it would be difficult for Japan and European countries to ban Russian LNG imports in the near future unless alternative suppliers can be found.

In 2021, Russian exports made up over 40 percent of the LNG consumed in the European Union, while resource-poor Japan relied on Russia for about 9 percent of its total LNG imports.

Foreign ministers from the G-7 have issued a statement on Saturday, saying they are poised to roll out additional sanctions on Russia amid the war on Ukraine that has now lasted nearly three months.

The ministers said after a meeting in Weissenhaus in northern Germany we reaffirm our determination to increase economic and political pressure on Russia.