Japan may have joined the U.S. and Europe is sanctioning Russia after its incursion into Ukraine, but it has no plans to withdraw from a joint Russian oil and gas project, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said today.
Japan is a country lacking in natural resources which has forced it to try to balance its fossil fuels requirements with pushing a hard line against Russia, a fact that has led to criticism from some Western countries.
When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, petroleum company Shell announced it would sell its 27.5% stake in Sakhalin 2 in Russia’s eastern territories. But wanting to retain necessary levels of energy for Japan, Prime Minister Kishida commented that the project was aiding in providing “long-term, inexpensive and stable LNG supplies” to his country.
During a recent parliamentary session, he stressed that “it is a crucial project in terms of our energy security, so our plan is not to pull out.” Despite this controversial decision, Japan will continue its efforts to lower energy dependency on Russia in line with G7 policy, Kishida said.
Since the war started, Japan has pressured Russia with a series of sanctions on Russian companies and individuals, including Vladimir Putin. The country has also just approved a ban of luxury car exports to Russia, one of its main export markets.
One reason for Japan’s heavy dependence on imported fossil fuels stems from the massive shutdown of nuclear reactors in response to the Fukushima meltdown of 2011.