Tokyo has unveiled a new sanctions package against Russia as part of Moscow's military operation in Ukraine, Asahi media reports. However, the latest restrictions exclude imports crucial to the Japanese economy, including seafood and energy.
The expanded list includes a ban on imports of Russian beer and vodka, engine parts for ships, planes, cars and motorcycles, veneer, certain types of wood and wood shavings. The ban goes into effect on April 19. It did not include a ban on Russian fish and seafood, which accounts for 8.9% of Japanese imports. Tokyo has also avoided targeting supplies of Russian crude oil and natural gas, on which the country depends heavily.
Tokyo’s latest sanctions target imports of timber, alcohol and engine parts
However, according to the publication, Japan's dependence on Russian wood products is much higher. Russia accounted for up to 80% of purchases of certain items in Japanese timber imports last year. Nearly 60% of veneer enters the Japanese market from Russia, and analysts say the import ban will cause the cost of building construction to spike by 5-10%.
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Lumber and sawn wood prices in Japan have recently reached record highs. First, they started to rise after Russia introduced higher export rates for certain types of wood products last year. However, they have increased significantly in the past few weeks since the start of Moscow's military operation in Ukraine. After Tokyo joined Western sanctions against Russia, some Japanese importers began refusing to buy Russian timber. Construction costs rose nearly 60% year-on-year last month, Asahi reported, citing data from the Bank of Japan.
Japan has already adopted several sets of anti-Russian sanctions, joining the United States, most of the EU, the United Kingdom and several other countries in condemning Russia's actions in Ukraine. However, Tuesday's package is the first to target Russian exports. Previously, Tokyo had imposed restrictions on its own exports to Russia, with the list of banned goods and technologies encompassing more than 300 items. These include semiconductors, maritime and aviation security equipment, telecommunications equipment, military products, software and petroleum refining equipment. Additionally, Japan has also banned luxury goods exports to Russia, including cars worth more than 6 million yen ($49,000).