JAPAN on Tuesday rejected an allegation that the sanctions it has imposed on Russian private lender Sovcombank are illegal, and said Russia’s aggression against Ukraine should have a significant cost.

Sovcombank is planning a legal challenge to sanctions imposed on it by Western countries over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and will start with Japan, where the bank has shareholders, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday.

Sovcombank, one of Russia’s 13 official “systemically important” credit institutions, has been unable to access certain markets owing to the restrictions.

“Japan has been imposing strict sanctions against Russia in close coordination with the international community, including the G7,” a Japanese Foreign Ministry Official said in an emailed statement.

“The sanction measures are being implemented in accordance with relevant laws and therefore we do not consider them to be ‘imposed illegally”’.

“Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is an outrageous act that shakes the very foundation of international order, and it is important to demonstrate clearly that such acts should have significant cost.”

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special military operation” to root out dangerous nationalists and prevent the West using Ukraine to threaten Russia’s security.

Kyiv and the West say these are baseless pretexts for a war of conquest.

Japan currently holds the rotating presidency of the Group of Seven (G7) highly industrialised Western powers. (Reuters/NAN)

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