In a major shift, Japan announced Monday it will join other Group of Seven member nations in phasing out Russian oil imports, but will remain involved with two Russian oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in Sakhalin.

"We will take steps to phase out (Russian oil imports) in a manner that minimizes adverse effects on people's lives and business activities. But we plan to keep our interests (in the two Sakhalin LNG projects) unchanged,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters following a virtual meeting of G7 leaders.

In accordance with the G7, Japan will ban Russian oil imports "in principle" as part of additional sanctions levied on Moscow to punish it for its invasion of Ukraine in February. Tokyo had earlier appeared reluctant to commit to such a step, due to concerns about possible retaliation by Russia against its Sakhalin investments and a policy of diversifying energy sources.