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Editorial: Japan should review its Russia strategy with an eye to supporting international world order

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a challenge to the principles of respect for sovereignty and the rule of law, and it greatly affects Japan’s national interests, as well. Japan should actively contribute to the partnership among major countries to address Russia and should urgently review its strategy in preparation for a dramatic change in the security environment.

 

The G7 held an online meeting of their foreign ministers and harshly criticized Russia. They coordinated sanctions [against Russia] and support for Ukraine.

 

The United Nations has decided to hold an emergency special session of its General Assembly, and the United States and others aim to adopt an Assembly resolution criticizing Russia. The resolution would not be legally binding, but it would be very significant in encircling Russia using diplomatic means.

 

The situation with Russia is expected to turn into a protracted struggle, and major countries must continue to closely coordinate their efforts so that they do not give Russia an opening. If any change in the status quo by force were allowed, it would set a bad precedent and have a negative impact around the world. East Asia would be no exception.

 

It is critical that Japan work hard to support the world order. Displaced persons from Ukraine are flooding into neighboring countries, including Poland. We would like to see Japan coordinate with other nations and consider humanitarian aid.

 

Japan has no choice but to radically review its bilateral relationship with Russia. To date, Japan has aimed to resolve the Northern Territories issue with Russia and conclude a bilateral peace treaty. In an effort to create an environment conducive to achieving that aim, Japan has promoted cooperation in such fields as energy and the economy.

 

This premise [of good will] has been destroyed by Russia’s barbarism. Russian President Vladimir Putin is severely reining in the West by holding out the possibility it will use nuclear weapons. As the only nation in history to have suffered atomic bombing, Japan absolutely cannot tolerate this. It is no wonder that Prime Minister Kishida Fumio said, “[Due to Russia’s aggression] it is no longer possible to maintain the same level of relations with Russia.”

 

Taking advantage of the Ukraine situation, North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan. China has avoided criticizing Russia and is monitoring the West’s actions.

 

The government is reviewing Japan’s National Security Strategy (NSS), which is the nation’s basic policy on foreign affairs and defense. Japan needs a strategy that takes into consideration Russia as well as China and North Korea.

 

The United States has worked out a policy to increase deterrence against China by partnering with allies, but America is now required to direct troops to Eastern European countries where the Russian threat is increasing. Japan needs to coordinate more closely than ever before with the United States to prevent the East Asia situation from becoming unstable.

 

It is imperative that Japan strengthen its own defense capabilities. We would like to see the government move forward steadily with its review of the NSS while carefully explaining it to the Japanese people.

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