*Note: This is a provisional translation for reference purposes only.
Tuesday, October 25, 2022
Press Conference Room, METI Main Building
Sanctions against Russia
Q: Currently, among the countries that have joined in the economic sanctions against the resource-rich country Russia, energy resource, electricity, and gas prices are surging, and inflation is accelerating. Demonstrations are also taking place in European countries, although they are not widely reported in Japan. Last week, street protests started in Paris from oil-related company workers demanding wage raises, and then spread out to anti-NATO demonstrations calling for withdrawal from NATO.
On the other hand, countries that have not imposed sanctions against Russia—such as India and China, and countries in Southeast Asia, South America, and Africa—are buying oil and gas from Russia below market prices, and making profits. Very few countries in Asia but Japan and South Korea have joined in the sanctions against Russia. I think that Japan should stand neutral and stop imposing these ineffective sanctions against Russia, prioritize our own national interests, and gain the freedom to import Russian resources to suppress inflation caused by surging import prices. What are your thoughts?
A: First, with regard to Russia's aggression against Ukraine, Russia is making a unilateral change in the status quo by force, and we condemn it as completely unacceptable. It is an act that violates international law and shakes the very foundations of the international order.
Japan has already implemented strict measures in close cooperation with the international community, including the G7. Moving forward, the G7 will continue working together to maintain sanctions against Russia, and we will continue to respond appropriately.
Various impacts have arisen from our responses, including increased prices of energy and various commodities, and we have already implemented measures against these. Among our recent economic measures are those that will reduce the burden of electricity and gas prices on consumers. We will carefully implement measures that deal in various ways with the current situation. We will make efforts to ensure a stable energy supply and resilient supply chains and create a resilient and flexible economy and society that can respond to various situations. We will incorporate these into our current economic measures. We will work to mitigate the impact on the lives of our citizens and industry, while also building a medium- to long-term economic structure that reflects these ideas.