Apr 8, 2022 - World

Japan to expel 8 Russian diplomats and increase sanctions

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaking in Tokyo on April 8.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaking in Tokyo on April 8. Photo: Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Japan announced Friday it plans to expel eight Russian diplomats and phase out imports of Russian coal and oil over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, AP reports.

Why it matters: In the last week alone, countries around the world — including France and Germany — have said they intend to kick out a total of at least 151 Russian diplomats.

What they're saying: In addition to expelling the diplomats and ceasing coal and oil imports, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said, Japan will also ban imports of Russian lumber, vodka and other goods, and will prohibit new investment in Russia, AP reports.

  • It will also increase sanctions on Russian banks and freeze assets belonging to 400 more individuals and groups linked to the Kremlin.
  • "Russia has repeatedly violated international humanitarian law by killing civilians and attacking nuclear power plants. These are unforgivable war crimes," Kishida said during a news conference Friday, per Reuters.

By the numbers: The U.S. and European countries together have dismissed more than 400 Russian diplomats and embassy staff since the start of Moscow's invasion, Axios' Zach Basu reports.

  • Many of the Russians declared "persona non grata" are alleged intelligence officers working under diplomatic cover.

The big picture: Japan joins the U.S. in banning coal and oil imports.

  • The European Union announced Thursday that it intends to ban imports of Russian coal, though pressure is mounting on it to cut off imports of Russian oil and gas as well, Axios' Emily Peck reports.

Go deeper: UN suspends Russia from Human Rights Council

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