TOKYO, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- Japan extended its sanctions against Russia on Tuesday over current Ukrainian turmoil after a Malaysian passenger plane was allegedly shot down in eastern Ukraine last month.
The decision was made during a meeting of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet and the sanctions took effect immediately after the meeting on Tuesday.
Under the additional sanctions, Japan froze assets held in the country by 40 individuals and two groups directly involved in Russia's move on Crimea and the instability in eastern Ukraine.
Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and Sergey Aksyonov, acting head of Crimea, are on the 40-person list.
Japan also began requiring approval for imports of products made in the Crimea region and the city of Sevastopol.
However, no senior Russian officials are on the list for the asset freeze, as local media reported, Abe needs to maintain his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin so as to continue their contacts on territorial dispute, Japan's Kyodo News quoted government officials as saying.
Japan is seeking balance between the West and Russia on the Ukraine issue as Japan wants to resolve a long-standing territorial dispute with Russia over four Russian-held islands north off Japan's Hokkaido.
"We will continue to seek a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the situation in Ukraine through coordination with the international community, led by our Group of Seven partners," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Tuesday.
The Japanese government top spokesman said the country's basic stance on maintaining dialogue with Russia remain unchanged.