Are Things Hard on Putin When the U.S. Grants Japan Permission to Buy Russian Oil?

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The Japanese, citing a desperate need for oil from Russia, have asked the U.S. to allow them to purchase their oil at a price higher than the $60 per barrel cap that is currently imposed by the U.S.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Japan, an important ally of the United States, has been dependent on Russian oil and natural gas despite international calls for countries to decrease their dependence on them. Japan is just one of many countries that have been dependent on Russian fossil fuels. This has allowed Russia to continue its invasion of Ukraine.

Via the WSJ:

Japan convinced the U.S. to accept the exception because it needed it for access to Russian energy. This concession shows Japan’s dependence on Russia for fossil fuels. Analysts believe this contributed to Tokyo’s hesitation to support Ukraine in its war against Russia.

Many European countries have decreased their dependence on Russian energy supplies. Japan however has increased its purchase of Russian natural gas in the past year. Japan is the only member of the Group of Seven that has not supplied lethal weapons to Ukraine. Prime Minister Fumio Kishhida, the last G-7 leader, visited Ukraine following Russia’s invasion.

Mr. Kishida stated that the G-7 summit, which he will host in May in Hiroshima, Japan, will show solidarity with Ukraine. Tokyo said that it supports Kyiv but cannot send weapons due to the long-standing export restrictions imposed by the cabinet.

Hirokazu Matsuno, the chief government spokesperson, stated that Russia’s outrageous acts will not be tolerated. Therefore, Russia is subject to severe sanctions.

The Journal reports that Japan’s purchases were not large, but this is despite Russia’s repeated calls to the G-7 for an end to its invasion and a U.S. coalition effort to financially harm Vladimir Putin. Japan is not the only country to have received this exception.

Australia, the European Union, and the G-7 have all agreed to prohibit these companies from providing services to Russian oil buyers who pay more than $60 per barrel.

Last year, the nations granted an exception to the Sept. 30 cap for oil bought by Japan from Russia’s Sakhalin-2 Project in Russia’s Far East.

Japan requires a steady supply of energy, and Russia can supply it. Japan being granted this exception shows that the global powers have limits on Russian energy. If the U.S. decided to become a net energy exporter and can supply oil and liquid natural gases to our allies in Japan or elsewhere, there could be other options for Japan.

However, such a move is in direct contradiction to the Biden administration’s persistent insistence that America should shift away from fossil fuels and towards green energy. This policy allows Putin to profit from the dependence of other nations on oil and natural gas, even though they have not made the same stupid pledges as the U.S.

While Joe Biden makes a great deal about being tough with Vladimir Putin, the administration of his administration has agreed to allow Japan to continue buying fossil fuels from Russia. He could have been tougher on Putin if he wanted. His policies would have increased U.S. oil and natural gas production and reduced Russian products. This would have done more than all the other things we have done to Russia.