TOKYO, April 29 Japan imposed visa bans on 23
people on Tuesday as it followed the United States and the
European Union in announcing expanded sanctions against Russia
over its actions in Ukraine.
Moscow has already denounced what it called "Cold War"
tactics for the new U.S. and EU sanctions imposed on Russian and
Ukrainian allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"Japan expresses serious concern that Russian moves to
violate Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity,
including the annexation of Crimea, are continuing," Japanese
Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said in a statement.
The Foreign Ministry did not disclose the names, titles or
nationalities of the 23 people hit with the new visa bans. A
ministry official said Japan's list was based on those compiled
by the United States and the European Union.
The new U.S. sanctions, announced on Monday, target the
likes of Putin's friend Igor Sechin, the head of oil giant
Rosneft, with visa bans and asset freezes.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who left Japan on Tuesday, faces
a tough task during a 10-day European trip.
He must strike a balance between standing by other G7
nations in condemning Russia, while also maintaining working
ties with Moscow as Tokyo seeks to diversify energy imports
after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Following Russia's recognition of the independence of
Ukraine's Crimea region in March, Japan suspended talks with
Russia on the relaxation of visa requirements and froze the
launch of negotiations on a new investment pact.
(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Paul Tait)