Japan will not abandon its stake in the Sakhalin-2 liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Russia.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida argued the project is essential to the country’s energy security.
He told parliament: “Japan has a stake in Sakhalin 2, which is contributing to securing long-term, stable and low-priced supply of LNG. It is an extremely important project for Japan’s energy security.”
The announcement is unsurprising, as the government repeatedly said Russian LNG is essential to energy security.
Japanese oil trader Mitsui & Co and Mitsubishi Corp own stakes of 12.5 per cent and 10 per cent respectively in the Sakhalin 2 development – which Shell announced plans to exit earlier this month.
Japan has been ramping up sanctions against Russia alongside Western allies, but has avoided imposing energy sanctions with the country highly dependent on imports of oil and gas from overseas suppliers.
Its reliance on international energy supplies has worsened following the fuel meltdowns at the Fukushima power plant in 2011, which has led to sharply lower usage of nuclear power reactors.
“It is not our policy to withdraw,” Kishida said, adding his government would continue seeking ways to reduce Japan’s dependence on Russian energy sources.
Currently, Russia represents four per cent of Japan’s crude oil imports and nine per cent of LNG imports.