Japan Makes 61 Rich Russians Miserable


Japan seized the assets of 17 Russian citizens as retaliation for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Since the February 24 invasion, Tokyo has blocked the assets of 61 Russian citizens.


The move comes after the United States on Friday issued sanctions against many Russian citizens, including billionaire Viktor Vekselberg and 12 members of the Duma, Russia’s lower-level parliament.


Vekselberg, as well as 11 members of the Duma and five members of the family of banker Yuri Kovalchuck, were also sanctioned by Japan, Japan’s finance ministry said.


Japan will act in line with other member states in the Group of Seven (G7) on sanctions, said the government’s top spokesman, Hirokazu Matsuno. “Regarding further sanctions, we will continue to monitor developments and, together with other G7 countries, take appropriate action,” Matsuno said at a press briefing.


The Japanese government has also imposed sanctions on several organizations, including the central bank as well as seven private Russian banks.


In addition, sanctions were issued against several Belarusian individuals, banks, and organizations because Japan considered the country to be supporting the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi told the press that the Ukraine crisis showed the importance of reforms at the United Nations Security Council, of which Russia is a permanent member.


As part of tougher action against the Russian government, Japan will also add to its list of bans on exports to Russia starting Friday (18/3).


The additional list includes 31 types of goods, such as semiconductors, communications equipment, sensors, and radar, as well as 26 technology packages.

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