Sunday’s Yomiuri projected that when updating the 2014 National Security Strategy in December, the GOJ is likely to change the status of Russia from a “partner” to a “national security challenge” on a par with China and North Korea in view of its aggression against Ukraine. The current defense doctrine calls for stronger partnership with Moscow by saying “it is extremely important to elevate the cooperative partnership with Russia on all fronts in order to ensure national defense.” As Moscow has continued to disregard international law in sending troops into Ukraine, the GOJ has now reportedly concluded that Tokyo should “no longer take a soft stance” toward Moscow. The paper added that although China will continue to be described as a “security challenge” in the updated version of the key security document, the word “threat” will be added for its disruptive conduct overseas. North Korea is already categorized as both a security challenge and a threat in the current document.
Sankei also noted that the SDF will be forced to confront China, North Korea, and Russia simultaneously, emphasizing that the nation’s defense posture will need to be bolstered significantly as the three potential adversaries will perhaps continue to escalate their military provocations around the Japanese archipelago.