Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno holds a press conference in Tokyo on July 18, 2023. (Kyodo)

Japan is set to ban the export of used cars to Russia as part of additional economic sanctions on the country over its invasion of Ukraine, sources close to the matter said Tuesday.

The move to restrict exports of used Japanese cars, which are in high demand in Russia, aims to enforce the effectiveness of embargoes on Moscow by keeping in step with punitive European and U.S. measures.

While Japan has prohibited shipments to Russia of luxury vehicles worth more than 6 million yen ($43,000) since April last year, the sources said the planned additional sanctions are also expected to cover cars with gasoline or diesel engines exceeding 1,900 cc, as well as electric and hybrid vehicles.

Japan's exports to Russia totaled 603.9 billion yen in 2022, a decrease of 30 percent compared to the previous year. Passenger cars, the majority of which were previously owned, accounted for over half of the figure at 305.6 billion yen.

The United States and Europe strengthened bans on vehicle exports to Russia following a Group of Seven meeting in Hiroshima in May, where leaders agreed in a joint statement to take action to restrict exports of all items that could aid Russia's aggression against Ukraine.

At a press conference earlier Tuesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno criticized Russia's withdrawal from a deal enabling Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea, saying the decision was "extremely regrettable" and Japan will closely monitor its impact on the global food supply.

In collaboration with the G-7 countries and the international community, Japan will "strongly urge Russia to return to the grain export framework to ensure the initiative restarts," Matsuno said.

The G-7 groups Britain, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and the United States, plus the European Union.

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