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Japan freezes Russian assets

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Japan freezes Russian assets

Japan freezes Russian Assets
Japan freezes the assets of four Russian banks today to follow the actions of other G7 countries – Photo: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

Japan will freeze the assets of four more Russian banks today, bringing the total number to seven.

On March 3, Japan’s cabinet approved sanctions against VTB Bank, Sovcombank, Novikombank, and Otkritie, all banks with close ties to the Russian government.  Tokyo is following actions by other G7 nations, which have taken steps to freeze Russian assets to punish them for the war in Ukraine and pressure the Kremlin into peace talks.

Japan, a close ally of the United States in the Asia-Pacific, has taken a harsher stance against Russian aggression than other states in the region.  Others fear condemning Russia may anger China, a Russian ally. Japan, conversely, fears Russian success may embolden an expansionist China to act aggressively against Taiwan.

Expect today’s sanctions to have little short-term impact on the Russian economy or peace negotiations. The Russian economy is already tanking. More sanctions would further freeze Russian foreign assets used to prop up the ruble’s value. It is likely Japan, alongside other G7 nations, will continue sanctioning Russian banks, tech companies, and oligarchs to hurt Russia’s ability to wage war. This will likely worsen Russo-Japanese relations but may help push Russia towards a settled peace.

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