Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio has joined the chorus of global condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He spoke on Friday as the international community scrambles to respond to the unfolding crisis in Europe.
Kishida announced sanctions including visa suspensions and asset freezes for certain Russian individuals and entities, including financial institutions.
Export restrictions cover Russian military-related entities and specific goods, such as semiconductors.
“We will work closely with the G7 countries and the rest of the international community to strongly urge Russia to immediately withdraw its forces and comply with international law,” Kishida said.
“The invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army, which took place in defiance of the efforts of the international community, is an attempt to unilaterally change the status quo by force.
“It is a flagrant violation of international law, undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. It is completely unacceptable as an act that undermines the foundations of the international order,” he said. the Japanese leader during a press conference.
Kishida’s comments come as two leading experts in Japan gave NHK World their assessment of the situation.
Professor Higashino Atsuko, a specialist in Euro-Russian relations at the University of Tsukuba, says Russia has embarked on a full-scale invasion.
“I think the fights will become more complex and more intense,” she says. Higashino believes Western countries are trying to grasp the scale of the military invasion as they craft an effective response.
“The European Union and the United States have announced very significant sanctions and I think they will intensify from now on,” she said.
“The current sanctions do not exclude Russia from the SWIFT system. The Russian financial system could suffer enormous damage if targeted. Sanctions on the energy sector would also have a significant effect.”
Higashino noted that the German government had already announced the suspension of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project which directly connects Russian gas to Europe via Germany.
She said economic sanctions would likely hit hard: “This time the effect of sanctions will be greater than in 2014 after the annexation of Crimea. The countermeasures will hit the Russian people.
“Right now, Putin’s support rate is growing, but we don’t know if that will continue once the sanctions start to have a severe impact on people’s lives.”
Another expert on Russian affairs, Shimotomai Nobuo of Kanagawa University, thinks Putin’s operation will be a short-term exercise.
He says the stalled diplomacy between the United States and Russia could soon change and that could affect the crisis in Ukraine.
“The US and Russian presidents are due to address their countries on March 1-2. This moment could be significant.
“The relationship between these two countries dates back to before World War II. They have many deep channels, so it seems that the two leaders are thinking of ways to break the ice through these secondary channels.”