TOKYO, July 1 (KUNA) -- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Friday that Russia's decision to replace the Sakhalin-2 project operator with a new Russian company will not immediately stop imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Russia.
Kishida made remarks after Russian media reported that President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Thursday to transfer the assets of the oil and LNG development project operator to another operating company newly established by the Russian side.
"I don't think that the decree will lead to an immediate stoppage of LNG supplies," Kishida told reporters in Okinawa Prefecture.
"But we must pay close attention to what will be required based on the presidential decree. We must communicate with stakeholders and consider how to deal with the issue," the premier added.
The decree is viewed as a retaliatory move against Japan for imposing sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
Japan relies on Russia for about 9 percent of its LNG imports, with almost all of them supplied by the Sakhalin-2 project in Russia's Far East.
Russian state-run Gazprom has more than 50 percent stake in the project, while Japanese trading firms Mitsui & Co. and Mitsubishi Corp. have stakes of 12.5 percent and 10 percent, respectively.
In February, British oil major Shell PLC, which has a stake of about 27.5 percent, announced its withdrawal from the project shortly after the Russian invasion. (end) mk.ibi