Japan's sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine are necessary, even if they squeeze energy supplies, because Tokyo one day could need allies to counter China in East Asia, said Taro Kono, a former defense chief and ex-foreign minister.

"We need to tell the people in Japan that in order to protect ourselves we need to help the others too," Kono told Reuters. "If there is any aggression anywhere on this planet, we need to stop them."

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