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Japan studies sanctions on Belarus over Russian invasion of Ukraine

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Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Monday Japan is considering imposing sanctions on Belarus for its support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a move that would be in line with steps by the United States and other countries.

“Belarus is supporting Russian military actions, and we strongly condemn it. We intend to promptly reach a conclusion” regarding sanctions, Kishida said at a session of the House of Councillors’ Budget Committee.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attends a House of Councillors budget committee session in Tokyo on Feb. 28, 2022. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

In the same session, Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said Japan is considering “measures against individuals, including senior government officials” of Belarus.

Belarus has close ties with Russia and its territory has served as an entry point for Russian forces invading Ukraine. The United States and Britain have already decided to sanction Belarusian individuals and entities.

Kishida also criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin for putting Russia’s nuclear forces on high alert, saying, “It is risky behavior that further destabilizes the situation.”

He said Japan will swiftly move to freeze assets of Putin and consider its next move regarding sanctions by considering how the situation evolves.

Japan, which has already decided on a slew of sanctions against Russia, including export curbs, said Sunday it will additionally exclude some Russian banks from a key international payment system known as SWIFT, joining efforts by the other Group of Seven members.

Related coverage:

G-7 vows to cooperate on sanctions on Russia, support for Ukraine

Japan to join U.S., EU in cutting Russian banks off int’l system

U.S., EU to exclude some Russian banks from key int’l payment system


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