Tokyo (Times Of Ocean)- The Japanese government on Friday expelled eight Russian diplomats after Russia killed civilians in Ukraine, a rare move.
The move came after European Union nations, including France and Germany, announced this week they would expel more Russian diplomats. Russia denies targeting civilians in the conflict in Ukraine, where it says it has launched a “special operation”.
Foreign ministry officials declined to elaborate, but said several trade officials were expelled by Japan, but not the Russian ambassador, Mikhail Galuzin.
Even though such expulsions are infrequent, they have happened several times during the Soviet era, the officials said.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is expected to announce additional sanctions on Russia at his next press conference.
Earlier on Friday, Japan’s minister of industry said Japan planned to gradually reduce the imports of Russian coal while seeking alternative suppliers as a result of the sanctions against Moscow.
In addition to expelling diplomats, Japan has banned the import of coal, machinery, wood and vodka from Russia, frozen assets of Russia’s largest banks, including Sberbank and Alphabank, and banned 400 Russian lawmakers and senior military officials, as well as 20 Russian companies linked to military projects.
Statement by U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel on Japan’s Additional Sanctions on Russia
“As clear and convincing evidence of Russian war crimes in Ukraine mounts, Prime Minister Kishida’s decision to ban investment in Russia, phase out Russian coal imports, sanction Sberbank and Alfa Bank, ban the import of certain Russian goods, and freeze the assets of nearly 400 additional individuals including military officers and members of the Duma, sends a resolute message that Japan and the world will not tolerate criminality. These strong actions underscore our shared determination to punish Russia for Putin’s ongoing illegal and immoral aggression against Ukraine.”
Austria has also announced that it is expelling four Russian diplomats for “incompatibility with their diplomatic duties.”
There are now 350 Russian diplomats who have been expelled from various countries since its military invasion of Ukraine.
Poland previously expelled 45 Russian diplomats for “espionage and propaganda on behalf of the Kremlin.”