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Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s announcements of sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine mark a shift in Japan’s rhetoric and policy, bringing it more in line with the tough position of the other Group of Seven advanced economies.

The sanctions go further than they did in 2014, when Russia annexed eastern Ukraine’s Crimea region. Concerns at that time about not disrupting negotiations with Moscow over four Russian-held islands off eastern Hokkaido, which are claimed by Japan, led to a weaker response that drew international criticism.

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