Japan and Russia territorial dispute made worse based on US containment policies

Japan and Russia territorial dispute made worse based on US containment policies

Sawako Utsumi and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan wants stronger relations with the Russian Federation but three issues remain that are preventing this. This applies to the role of America that seeks to contain China and the Russian Federation respectively; the slavish mentality of Japan toward America that is infringing on inter-developments with nations throughout Northeast Asia; and certain individuals in the Japanese Foreign Ministry seek the Russian Federation to capitulate on the territorial issue based on economic factors. Therefore, it seems that Abe’s optimism is unraveling naturally because the leader of Japan is beholden to the prevailing conditions.

It seems illogical for elites in Japan to believe that the Russian Federation will succumb to a nation that can’t provide any guarantees toward the geopolitical concerns of this nation. Equally astonishing, this non-geopolitical guarantee applies despite American forces being based throughout Japan. The very same nation that supports the expansion of NATO and is creating problems in Ukraine along with other issues that include economic sanctions. At the same time, Japan is buying American weapons that both China and the Russian Federation deem to be aimed at containing these nations via the whims of Washington.

Hence, during a recent meeting between defense and foreign ministers of both Japan and the Russian Federation in Tokyo, the gaps and acrimony became openly declared. Unsurprisingly, the Russian Federation objected strongly to the proposed plans of the Aegis missile defense system being in the offing. Also, the increasing nature of military cooperation between America and Japan is creating tensions, in relation to the territorial dispute and mutual trust between Japan and the Russian Federation.

Japan naively expects the Russian Federation not to increase its military potential on the Kuril Islands and other adjacent areas. Yet, it is abundantly clear that America is a geopolitical concern for the Russian Federation in relation to NATO, economic sanctions, the Caucasus region, energy issues, Ukraine, and other important areas. Hence, with Japan modernizing its military and installing weapons deemed to be aimed at China and the Russian Federation respectively based on the intrigues of America – even if unintended by Japan; then it appears naive for Japan to expect the Russian Federation to ignore America’s containment policy, especially with no guarantees that America will not be allowed to utilize Northern Japan.

The Kuril Islands (the Russian Federation name) in Japan comes under the name of the Northern Territories. Therefore, according to Japan, the military development of this area is deemed “unacceptable.”

Taro Kono, the Foreign Minister of Japan, stipulated, “Our country’s legal position does not accept the missile drills, fighter aircraft deployment, and enhancement of the military presence in the Northern Territories.”

However, as already mentioned, this stance by Japan is extremely naive given the presence of America’s military might throughout the land of the rising sun. Thereby, Kono was rebutted by the Russian Federation. After all, the Kuril Islands are a sovereign part of the Russian Federation. Hence, under the norms of international law, all nations have the right to defend themselves.

Overall, it seems that little will change because Japan is beholden to the geopolitical intrigues and containment policies of America. These policies are aimed at China and the Russian Federation respectively. Therefore, it is nigh impossible for Japan to ignore the military angle of America in Japan and South Korea – and further afield.

This reality – and without any guarantees from Japan that America will be forbidden from utilizing Northern Japan – then it is most unlikely that the Russian Federation can move forward and solve issues based on mutual respect.


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