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Kishida keen to display “hard line” toward Russia

Mainichi wrote that Prime Minister Kishida appears to be eager to demonstrate a hard line toward Russian over its invasion of Ukraine, saying that he has repeatedly used tough rhetoric and imposed stringent sanctions against Russia in coordination with the other G7 members based on the assessment that Japan’s response to the Russian aggression will have a significant bearing on a potential contingency across the Taiwan Strait. He is also mindful of conservative LDP lawmakers calling for strong measures to penalize Moscow. The premier is reportedly worried about the media and his detractors characterizing his decisions on punitive steps as “not speedy enough” or “merely following the lead” of Western nations and instructed one of his deputies to disclose to the media a letter from President Biden thanking him for his proactive leadership in assisting Kyiv and punishing Moscow. The administration is also busy playing up Japan’s contributions for a global audience, with the Kantei website posting information on aid for the Ukrainian people and sanctions on the Putin administration in eight languages. As the nation’s tough response is bound to boomerang in the form of increased prices for imported foods and energy, the paper said public discontent may eventually be directed toward the administration even ahead of the Upper House election in July, projecting that it may not be able to resist the ruling coalition’s growing calls for pork barrel spending.   

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