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TOKYO — Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Wednesday that Japan would join the U.S. in imposing modest sanctions on Russia over its moves to recognize the independence of breakaway regions in Ukraine and send troops there.

Kishida repeated language used by other leaders of the Group of Seven nations, saying Russia violated international law and infringed upon Ukraine’s sovereignty. Russia’s actions “absolutely cannot be permitted. We strongly criticize them,” he said.

He said Japan, like the U.S., would ban the trade of new Russian sovereign debt and sanction individuals connected to the breakaway regions. He said Tokyo would coordinate with the U.S. and other G-7 nations on additional sanctions if the situation worsens.

Japan relies on Russia for just under a tenth of its imports of natural gas, which is a leading fuel for generating electric power in Japan. Tokyo has been relatively cautious about sanctions because of the fuel imports and because it hopes for progress with Russia on a dispute over northern islands seized by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II and claimed by Japan.

Kishida said he didn’t expect significant disruption in energy supplies.

Source: This post first appeared on http://marketwatch.com/

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