Japan Breaks Sanctions With Western Allies, Buys Russian Oil Above Price Cap

Japan is now buying Russian oil above the price cap set by the G7, breaking its agreement with the country’s western allies.

  • Japan, one of the United States’ closest Asian allies, is now breaking sanctions and buying Russian oil above the price cap set by the International Group of Seven (G7).
  • In December 2022, Japan, along with the U.S., the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Italy, and France, agreed to a maximum of $60 per barrel on Russian oil as the countries sought to wean off Putin’s energy reserves.
  • According to The Wall Street Journal, Japan persuaded the U.S. to agree to the price increase by $10 million, claiming it needed to move to maintain access to Russian oil. 
  • While many countries have reduced reliance on Russian energy supplies over the past year, the Asian country has increased its dependence on Russian natural gas as it has almost none of its own fossil fuels.
  • To date, Japan is the only country in the G7 to not have provided Ukraine with any weapons.

“It’s not as if Japan can’t manage without this. They can. They simply don’t want to,” JAMES D.J. Brown said.

  • In July 2022, Japan and the U.S. agreed to cooperate to prevent China from converting its enormous resources into an international power.
  • The countries agreed that “the coercive and retaliatory economic practices of the People’s Republic of China” warranted a preparatory response.
  • “For Japan and [the] U.S. to effectively respond to the unfair and opaque use of economic influence, it is necessary to think about diplomacy, security, and economy as a unit,” Japan’s foreign minister, Yoshimasa Hayashi, told reporters at the State Department. “In particular, since the United States and Japan are No. 1 and 2 democratic economies in the world, it would be beneficial for us to discuss strategically about the policies to be implemented in such [a] situation.”
  • In January 2023, Japan and the Netherlands joined the Biden administration’s efforts to decrease China’s military progress by limiting its access to advanced chip-manufacturing equipment.
  • Under the agreement, the Netherlands would ban ASML Holding NV, a Dutch manufacturer of photolithography machines, from selling its most advanced immersion lithography machines to China, crucial for producing cutting-edge chips while Japan would similarly restrict Nikon Corp.