Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi concludes a four-day trip to Poland today. Japan has largely cooperated with the US
Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi concludes a four-day trip to Poland today.
Japan has largely cooperated with the US and the EU on sanctioning Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. Effective today, Japan will ban exports of high-end cars and other luxury goods to Russia. On Saturday, it froze the assets of four more Russian-owned banks, bringing the total to seven. Last month, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced plans to revoke Russia’s most-favored nation trading status.
Japan’s decision to cooperate on sanctions will further Kishida’s new capitalism agenda which politically seeks to distinguish the country as a regional bulwark of liberal democracy, in contrast to China. Kishida may be presented with further opportunity to advance this aim should China take a more active military stance in support of Russia; but China is highly unlikely to directly aid Russian military efforts.
Still, if this opportunity arises there are risks that may cause Japan to hesitate. An Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development estimate suggests that the world could see a 1.1% global economic contraction should a Western sanctions regime be imposed on China. As such, expect Japan to walk a fine line between promoting its own international image and limiting economic hostility toward its regional rival.
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