Japan adds trade sanctions on Russia Japan adds trade sanctions on Russia
Backstories

Japan adds trade sanctions on Russia

    NHK World
    Correspondent
    Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio says he plans to revoke Russia’s “most favored nation” trading status as part of a fresh round of sanctions for the invasion of Ukraine. In a news conference on March 16, he also explained how he intends to help Ukrainian evacuees.

    Kishida described the invasion of Ukraine as "an atrocious act that should be remembered in history." The Prime Minister said Japan firmly condemns Russia's acts -- and announced that he would increase diplomatic and economic pressure on Russia.

    Japan’s decision to revoke "most favored nation" status makes it easier to impose trading conditions, such as higher tariffs, that will hurt the Russian economy.

    The move is in line with measures announced by the United States, the European Union, the UK and the G7.

    "Most favored nation" status is a founding principle of the World Trade Organization. It ensures that no country offers another member preferential trade terms. Any privileges extended to one country -- such as a low customs duty on an export item -- must be extended to all. Japan's government and others will have the freedom to set its own terms.

    Kishida Fumio joined the US and G7 leaders in calling for revoking Russia's "most favored nation" trade status, which would allow countries to increase tariffs on Russian goods, on March 16, 2022.

    Kishida also says Japan will block the export of luxury items to Russia and ban imports of certain goods. He said the government will announce a list of targeted items shortly.

    Japan has already imposed restrictions on the export of semiconductors and other high-tech products to Russia.

    The refugee crisis

    Kishida also described his plan to address displaced Ukrainians.

    Japan’s Immigration Services Agency says that 54 people had entered the country from Ukraine as of March 14, after Kishida announced that evacuees would be allowed into Japan.

    The Prime Minister said Japan will accept evacuees even if they do not have any relatives or acquaintances in the country.

    "The government plans to grant people who wish to stay a status of residence called 'Designated Activities.' It would permit them to stay and work in Japan for one year," Kishida said.

    "The government will closely look at changes in the situation in Ukraine and consider the possibility of extending the period of stay."

    He also said the government will help match evacuees with Japanese municipalities or businesses willing to support them.

    Kishida pledged to create a support system that could provide Ukrainian people with mid- and long-term help.

    "We would like to take necessary steps to smoothly accept Ukrainian evacuees, including Japanese language education, schooling, employment and resettlement," said Kishida.

    54 people have fled to Japan since March 4 and the UN refugee agency estimates more than 3 million have been displaced.

    Japan has a tight immigration policy and accepts few refugees. Kishida was also asked whether he plans to change that policy. He said the government "has properly recognized people qualified for refugee status, based on the United Nations Refugee Convention."