Japan and the European Union have agreed to further their co-operation on tackling Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Thursday, as the conflict continues and sanctions on Moscow tighten.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel and Kishida told a joint news conference in Tokyo they would keep up talks on ways to maximise their partnership to tackle Russia, in areas such as energy.
"We welcome the increasingly strong stance Japan is taking against Russia," von der Leyen said at the start of the meeting.
Tokyo has joined the European Union and Group of Seven nations in imposing trade sanctions on Russia, which calls its actions in Ukraine a "special military operation", that have cramped Moscow's ability to export its oil and gas.
But Japan is heavily reliant on energy imports, including purchases from Russia. Last week Kishida said Japan would "in principle" ban Russian oil but it has been more reluctant to disengage from some projects.
The three officials were meeting in the Japanese capital for an annual conference that was held online last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.Von der Leyen will leave Japan on Thursday afternoon, while Michel will travel to the nuclear memorial city of Hiroshima and leave at the weekend.