|Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida delivers a speech at the Guildhall in London, Britain May 5, 2022. (File photo by=REUTERS/Peter Nicholls)|
[Asia News = Reporter Reakkana] TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Monday that it will slowly phase out oil imports from Russia while maintaining its interests in oil and gas projects in the Russian Far East, Kyodo reported. Kishida made the remarks as the nation balances the need to alleviate the cost of living pressures while reducing its reliance on Russia in response to its war in Ukraine.
The premier told a virtual meeting of leaders of the Group of Seven nations earlier in the day that Japan will ban Russian oil imports "in principle" as part of additional sanctions levied on Moscow to punish it for its war launched in late February. The measure on oil imports marks a major shift for resource-poor Japan, which had been reluctant to take the step as it tried to diversify its supplies. Tokyo has already announced it will phase out Russian coal.
Kishida noted the projects on Russia's Sakhalin, a large island north of the Japanese archipelago, are vital for his nation in securing a stable energy supply in the long term. The government and Japanese companies hold stakes in them. Kishida did not give a specific timeline for the steps, only saying Japan will reduce or halt imports "in light of the reality."