ua en ru

Russian detained in Japan for illegal export of goods to Russia

Russian detained in Japan for illegal export of goods to Russia Illustrative photo (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

In Japan, a 38-year-old Russian man has been detained on suspicion of illegally exporting water bikes and other items that could be used for military purposes to Russia. This marks the first arrest in Japan for unauthorized exports to Russia since the invasion of Ukraine, citing Nikkei.

Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the Japanese government tightened sanctions against Russia, implementing trade restrictions. These included extensive limitations on the import and export of goods and luxury items that could be repurposed for military use.

However, it has often been noted that "sanctions evasion" has been carried out by concealing exports to Russia and utilizing third countries.

The Russian is suspected of exporting watercraft, marine engines, and used motorcycles worth approximately 43 million yen, subject to trade restrictions, to Russia via South Korea in January 2023 without obtaining permission from the Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry.

According to the investigation, the Russian, a representative of the company Astred in Osaka, began exporting goods to South Korea after export controls to Russia were tightened. The police are investigating this case, believing that the company tried to conceal its transactions with Russian clients.

According to the company’s website, Astred was founded in 2010. It trades in Japanese goods such as food products, everyday items, and used cars, and is reportedly engaged in direct sales to Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus.

Japan's sanctions against Russia

Japan imposed a series of sanctions against Russia in response to its 2022 invasion of Ukraine. Tokyo banned the export of various goods to Russia, such as semiconductors, high-tech equipment, and luxury items. It also prohibited the import of certain Russian goods, including seafood and timber.

Japan has also frozen the assets of several Russian banks and organizations. It has banned Japanese companies from conducting business with certain Russian companies.

In mid-June, Japan introduced new sanctions against Russia, targeting 11 individuals and 42 companies.