The Sanctions of Japan and the EU Against Russian Energy Sector During the 2022 Crisis

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2024-68-1-85-94
M. Chizhevskaya,
HSE University (St. Petersburg), 16, Soyuza Pechatnikov Str., St. Petersburg, 190121, Russian Federation.

Received 10.05.2023. Revised 31.07.2023. Accepted 03.11.2023.

Abstract. The aim of this article is to compare the measures taken by Japan and the European Union in response to the Ukrainian crisis escalation and subsequent world energy crisis. The article focuses on the sanctions policy of the two actors in the energy sphere, and the consequences from a socio-economic viewpoint. The volume of this study is limited to anti-Russian sanctions against basic fossil fuels – coal, crude oil, and natural gas. Under investigation are import restrictions, import diversification directions and EU–Japanese joint initiatives, taken to overcome the crisis under the US leadership. The study rests upon detailed statistical information from Japan’s and the EU’s, as well as international databases. Special attention is attributed to the problem of Russian gas import: Japan’s ongoing participation in the Sakhalin‑1 and 2 oil and gas projects, the routes of EU gas supplies alternative to Nord Stream‑1. The choice of actors is explained by the common situation which the EU and Japan found themselves in. Among the nations that introduced sanctions, they suffer the most, being short of natural resources and highly dependent on fossil fuel imports. Both imposed a wide range of sanctions in the energy sphere, following the hard line of the energy-independent United States. The paradox is that the EU, which is much more dependent on Russian fossil fuels, introduced much more severe sanctions than Japan. The author offers the following suggestion for this situation. First, Japan’s energy selfsufficiency ratio is lower than that of the EU, which is recognised by the G7 partners. Second, Japan, demonstrating full solidarity with Western countries, in contrast to the EU, still considers the Ukrainian crisis to be geographically distant, with relatively little effect on its domestic policy, except for the potential impact on the Taiwan Strait crisis escalation. Meanwhile, the energy crisis hits Japan directly, putting it into a situation where it must choose whether to follow the US’ and EU’s rigid approach, or to protect its own economic interests as much as possible. The study shows that, while the EU is putting democratic values protection ahead of the member states’ economic and social situation, Japan shows a more pragmatic approach in the energy sphere, trying to protect its industry and households from the devastating influence of the energy crisis, even if it goes against the G7 basic line and needs special approval. The degree of EU–Japan cooperation in solving common problems is seen as low. The absence of common proposals to overcome the crisis is explained by strategic dependence on the US, which is acting as the thought leader of the sanctions campaign under the G7 framework.

Keywords: Japan, the European Union, EU–Japan relations, Russia, the United States, Ukrainian crisis, sanctions, energy policy, energy crisis, energy security, G7


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For citation:
Chizhevskaya M. The Sanctions of Japan and the EU Against Russian Energy Sector During the 2022 Crisis. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2024, vol. 68, no. 1, pp. 85-94. EDN: IYNBMU

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