Worried over stable energy supplies, Japan on Thursday ruled out withdrawing from energy projects with Russia.
“It is an extremely important project in terms of energy security as it has contributed to the long-term, stable supply of inexpensive liquefied natural gas,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told parliament in Tokyo.
He was referring to the Sakhalin 2 oil and gas project in Russia's Far East.
According to the country's External Trade Organization data, Japan imported around 3.6 % of its crude oil and 8.8% of its LNG from Russia last year, Kyodo News reported.
Though energy-deficient Japan has walked a cautious path in stopping energy imports from Moscow, it has imposed sanctions on President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials and financial institutions.
It has, however, so far refused to follow the US in blocking energy imports from Russia.
“We will step up efforts to reduce our reliance on Russia for energy in line with a Group of Seven nations plan,” Kishida told the lawmakers.
To ensure stable energy supplies, Kishida early this month spoke to leaders of Saudi Arabia and UAE to make “proactive contributions” as major oil producers.
Japanese companies Mitsui & Co. and Mitsubishi Corp. besides other trading firms are engaged in LNG imports from Russia.
The Russia-Ukraine war, which started on Feb. 24, has been met with international outrage, with the EU, US and the UK, among others, implementing tough financial sanctions on Moscow.
At least 1,189 civilians have been killed in Ukraine and 1,901 injured, according to estimates by the UN, which cautioned that the true figure is likely far higher.
More than 4 million Ukrainians have also fled to several European countries, with millions more displaced inside the country, according to the UN refugee agency.