As tensions rise amidst a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine and fears grow over a major gas supply disruption, Japan has indicated that it will help provide ‘sufficient’ liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies to Europe.

Having held a meeting in Tokyo on 9th February, Koichi Hagiuda, Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) stated that multiple gas shipments are already being diverted to Europe by Japanese firms and are scheduled to arrive later this month. 

Although a conflict in Ukraine is unlikely to see Russia cease all gas exports to Europe, the EU’s heavy dependence on Russian supplies could result in heavy shortages and increased prices. 

As strategic partners, the EU and Japan claim a ‘united objective’ to protect a rules-based international order, open markets and secure supply chains. 

Commenting on the offer, Patricia Flor, EU Ambassador to Japan, said, “I welcome and highly appreciated Japan’s support, which is an excellent reflection of our long-standing close cooperation.” 

Europe has recently sought to explore methods of protecting its energy security including through the diversification of LNG import routes and sources.

Although effects could be more severe for the EU – which gets around half of its gas from Russia – the UK is unlikely to be directly affected, as it sources less than 5% of its gas (all of which is liquefied) from Russia.