Beijing has repeatedly denied aiding Moscow in the Ukraine conflict Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (C-front) and G7 world leaders at a working session of the G7 Summit attended by Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky (C-Rear) on May 21, 2023 in Hiroshima, Japan. © Stefan Rousseau-WPA Pool/Getty Images

Japan has imposed sanctions on companies based in China and several other countries over their alleged support for Russia in the Ukraine conflict. The measures come as part of a broader package of restrictions aimed at entities and individuals in Russia and Belarus that are deemed to be “directly involved” in the situation surrounding Ukraine.

The sanctions unveiled by the Japanese Foreign Ministry on Friday are the first time Tokyo has targeted Chinese firms over their alleged support for Moscow. The US and the EU previously targeted China-based companies over their alleged export of dual-use goods that could be used by Russia’s military.

The measures prohibit Japanese companies from exporting goods to the sanctioned firms that have been accused of supplying microchip and drone technology to Russia.

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Japan’s trade restrictions also include firms in India, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. A company in the United Arab Emirates has been subjected to an asset freeze.

Beijing has repeatedly denied providing weapons to Moscow and has called for a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine conflict.

The government of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has adopted a tough stance against Moscow in relation to the Ukraine conflict, while most countries in Asia have remained neutral. Tokyo is a member of the G7 group of nations, which also includes the US, the EU, and the UK, and is a NATO partner in the Indo-Pacific region.

Last month, Japan and South Korea introduced sanctions targeting individuals, organizations, and ships related to Russia’s alleged procurement of weapons from North Korea for use in Ukraine. Moscow and Pyongyang have denied the accusations.

The latest sanctions unveiled by Tokyo come as Russian President Vladimir Putin visited North Korea and Vietnam this week. Moscow and Pyongyang agreed to enhance cooperation in all spheres and assist each other in case of foreign aggression. In Hanoi, a dozen strategic partnership and cooperation agreements were signed during Putin’s visit.

Russia has repeatedly condemned what it describes as “aggressive” and “unlawful” sanctions imposed by Western nations over the Ukraine conflict. Commenting on the previous round of Japanese restrictions in April, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tokyo had sided completely with the West and had taken an “unfriendly” stance against Moscow.

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