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Japan follows US sanctions with 23 visa bans

Japan follows US sanctions with 23 visa bans
Japan has imposed visa bans on 23 Russian citizens including government officials following US sanctions over Russia's stance on Ukraine.

Japan has not released the names of those affected, but says the list is based on those compiled by the United States and the European Union, according to the Kyodo news agency.

"We need to call on Russia to restrain itself and act responsibly," Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said.

Tokyo announced the measures following the decision on Monday by the United States and the European Union to impose additional sanctions against Russia.

US President Barack Obama visited Japan last week to wrap up his four day Asia tour, meant to boost trade and business relations between Asia and Washington. Obama pledged support to Japan over a territorial dispute it has with China about islands in the East China Sea.

The new US sanctions, impose visa bans and asset freezes on seven individuals and 17 companies. The list includes Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, chair of the parliamentary commission on Foreign Affairs, Aleksey Pushkov, chief of the presidential office, Vyacheslav Volodin, and Vladimir Putin's friend Igor Sechin, the chief executive of oil giant Rosneft.

The list of sanctioned companies, which Washington believes to be “linked to Putin’s inner circle,” includes several banks, construction and transport companies.

Meanwhile Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov considers the Kiev authorities and their “puppeteers in Washington and some European capitals” aren’t fulfilling the conditions of the April 17 Geneva agreements. Having complied with the agreements “they haven’t shown any evidence that they are fulfilling them,” he said.

The first Russian sanctions package was introduced on March 18 with respect to Moscow's position on the Republic of Crimea. Japan then talked about suspending talks on an easier visa regime and halting discussions on three treaties; investment co-operation, space exploration, and the prevention of dangerous military activity.