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Japan to sanction chip exports to Russia, freeze assets 

Japan to sanction chip exports to Russia, freeze assets

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has announced to impose sanctions on Russia’s financial institutions and semiconductor imports, as G7 leaders agreed to punish Moscow economically for invading Ukraine.

The announcement came after Russian President Vladimir Putin unleashed a full-scale ground invasion and air assault on Thursday.

Kishida said the world’s third-largest economy planned “asset freezes and the suspension of visa issuance for Russian individuals and organisations” as well as asset freezes “targeting Russian financial institutions”.

“Thirdly, we will sanction exports to Russian military-related organisations and exports to Russia of general-purpose goods such as semiconductors and items on a restricted list based on international agreements,” he said.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks during a news conference at the Prime Minister's Office on Friday. | KYODO
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks during a news conference at the Prime Minister’s Office.

Kishida did not detail the scale of the sanctions or which individuals and institutions would be targeted, although local media said Bank Rossiya, Promsvyazbank and Russia’s economic development bank VEB would be hit.

Semiconductors are essential components in products ranging from cars to gaming consoles, and are in short supply worldwide.

Japan and Russia have complex relations and did not sign a peace treaty after the Second World War because of a lingering dispute over four islands claimed by Moscow in the closing days of the conflict. The islands, off the coast of Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido, are known as the southern Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan.

Russia Bans UK flights

Meanwhile, Russia has banned UK flights from landing and flying over the country in retaliation to Britain’s ban on Aeroflot. Russia’s civil aviation authority, Rosaviatsiya, said that all flights by UK airlines to Russia, as well as transit flights, have been banned, starting from Friday.

It said the measure was taken in response to the “unfriendly decisions” by the British authorities who banned flights to the UK by Russia’s national airline Aeroflot as part of sanctions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Read More: Germany suspends Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia

“A restriction was introduced on the use of Russian airspace for flights of aircrafts owned, leased or operated by an organisation linked to or registered in the UK,” the Russian aviation authority said.

The UK government on Thursday announced a package of sanctions against Russia, days after imposing a first set of measures. The latest sanctions are aimed at Russian elites, companies and financial institutions. Russian bank assets in the UK have been frozen, shutting off the country’s banking system from UK financial markets.

All Russian state-owned firms have been banned from raising finance on British markets. More than 100 oligarchs and companies in President Putin’s inner circle have also been sanctioned.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK would enact “the largest and most severe package of economic sanctions that Russia has ever seen” in response to Mr Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The prime minister said the latest sanctions include “all the major manufacturers that support Putin’s war machine”.

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