As tensions persist over stable energy supplies due to the Russia-Ukraine war, Japan said on Thursday it will release oil from its state reserves.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced the release of at least 15 million barrels from its state reserves, Kyodo News reported.
The announcement came amid disruptions in supplies from Russia, which is facing a raft of international sanctions over its war on Ukraine.
Tokyo has joined its Western allies in sanctioning Moscow but has ruled out halting energy imports from Russia.
To ensure stable supplies, Kishida has spoken to leaders of major oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE, in recent weeks, and also ruled out halting Japanese energy projects with Russia.
On civilian killings in Ukraine, Kishida said Tokyo is planning to “take further resolute action in response to Russia’s invasion and killings of civilians.”
Condemning what he called “war crimes,” Kishida said his government will announce further details against Russia after coordinating with the G7 nations.
“As part of efforts to assist people fleeing Ukraine, the government will secure seats on direct flights between Japan and Poland, starting this week,” he added.
Japan has taken in around 400 Ukrainians who fled the war.
According to the UN refugee agency, more than 4.27 million Ukrainians have left for other countries, with millions more internally displaced since the war began on Feb. 24.
At least 1,563 civilians have been killed in Ukraine and 2,213 injured, according to UN estimates, with the true figure feared to be far higher.
By Riyaz ul Khaliq