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Published: Friday March 7, 2014 MYT 8:20:02 AM
Updated: Friday March 7, 2014 MYT 8:21:08 AM

U.S. sanctions on Russia won't hurt Japan at present scope - Amari

TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. sanctions on Russia over its military intervention into Ukraine will not hurt the Japanese economy as they are currently constituted, Economy Minister Akira Amari said on Friday.

"At the present scope, there won't be an impact on the Japanese economy," Amari told a regular news conference when asked about U.S. measures against Moscow.

President Barack Obama on Thursday ordered U.S. sanctions on people responsible for Moscow's military intervention in Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula, including travel bans and freezing of their U.S. assets, and said a referendum by the region to join Russia would violate international law.

U.S. officials said a list of people targeted by the sanctions had not yet been drawn up, but that Russian President Vladimir Putin was not going to be one of them.

Russia's incursion into Ukraine is setting off alarm bells in Tokyo, where officials worry that any push by Japan's Western allies to impose economic penalties will undermine its drive to improve relations with Moscow.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday Japan's stance would be decided after comprehensively considering relations with the United States, Russia and the international community.

(Reporting by Takaya Yamaguchi; Writing by William Mallard; Editing by Dominic Lau)

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