Japan’s population opposes Kishida’s intention to rally APAC in an anti-Russian frenzy
by Vladimir Danilov on 02 May 2022 1 Comment

Given that the risk of the US strategic confrontation simultaneously with Russia and China would be, as even US experts rightly point out, a “geopolitical nightmare” for Washington, the US is trying harder and harder to draw its allies into this struggle, especially in Asia. This is why the White House has recently focused its attention on the expansion of QUAD, the so-called Asian NATO grouping, which currently includes Australia, India, the US and Japan. At the same time, there is a particular emphasis on pushing each of the bloc’s members to become more active against “common enemies” – i.e. Russia and China – as President Joe Biden and many other members of the current US political elite are no longer shy about stating in their public speeches.


Washington is also trying to incorporate Japan into another new military structure, AUKUS, in the expectation of using Japanese technology to build new weapons, according to Sankei. According to the newspaper, the Japanese leadership is divided on the matter. The newspaper’s readers suggest that the government think twice before agreeing to it. And readers of the Sankei Shimbun have spoken out even more strongly – against the country joining the AUKUS bloc created by the US, Britain and Australia.


As the analysis of US actions in the Ukraine crisis shows, the White House’s strategy is to provoke two crises in areas of vital Russian and Chinese interests, one after the other, at a convenient time for Washington. This would ensure that Moscow and Beijing either accept the American presence on their borders or grow weaker in debilitating internal and cross-border conflicts. The ultimate goal of such actions by Washington is clear: the removal of Russia and China as obstacles to the restoration of US global hegemony.


Recently, Fumio Kishida, the head of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, who won the elections and became Prime Minister six months ago, has been particularly active in supporting these aspirations of the White House. Determined to assume the role of Washington’s assistant, Kishida has taken active steps to fulfil his US mandate to rally the Asia-Pacific region into a broad anti-Russian front. To this end, he paid a visit to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in New Delhi on March 19, where he tried to induce India to withdraw from cooperation with Russia. However, India was the only member of QUAD to refrain from such moves, which has already caused extreme disappointment in the White House over this outcome of Kishida’s anti-Russian mission to India.


The failure of Kishida’s attempts to sway New Delhi towards anti-Russian positions was further confirmed by the Indian government’s decision on April 20 to refuse to provide its airports to load Japanese military transport planes for the “Ukrainian mission”.


Clearly wishing to improve his image in the eyes of Washington after this setback, Kishida announced his intention to visit the ASEAN countries in late April or early May to forge an anti-Russian coalition there and involve the countries of the region in sanctions against Moscow, as reported by the Nihon Keizai. In particular, Kishida has plans to visit Thailand and Vietnam in addition to Indonesia. 


However, his mission will clearly fail there too, as Asian countries are wary of sanctions against Russia carrying out a special operation in Ukraine. They generally distance themselves from the offensive and even aggressive actions of the US and Western Europe in this regard. And this, in particular, is confirmed by recent reports from Indonesia, where Kishida intended to promote Washington’s desire to remove Russia from the G20. Indonesia is known to chair the summit, but despite Washington’s “wishes”, Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati has already extended an invitation to Russian President Vladimir Putin to attend the G20’s autumn summit in Bali.


Currently, the list of Asian countries that have imposed sanctions against Russia is limited to Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore. Most of the local states maintain traditionally close economic relations with Russia. India, Laos, Vietnam and other Asia-Pacific countries abstained from voting on the UN General Assembly resolution condemning Russia in March this year.


As for Japan, it was the first country in Asia to put sanctions pressure on Russia. First and foremost here is Kishida’s intention to reduce and then completely abandon Russian energy sources, coal and oil. And then LNG from the Sakhalin fields, which Japanese business giants such as Mitsui and Mitsubishi have long benefited from developing. Therefore, it is not surprising that their owners did not support the proposals in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Japan to “punish Russia” by refusing to import LNG. According to information coming out of Japan, the business world in the Land of the Rising Sun refuses to follow the lead of politicians in Tokyo and Washington when it comes to relations with Russia.


Another confirmation of the Japanese aversion to anti-Russian sanctions by official Tokyo was the reaction to the Japanese government’s ban on imports from Russia of a further 38 Russian export items as of April 19. Among these, in addition to exotic products such as vodka, are the very essential ones, including the types of wood Japan needs. As the Sankei Shimbun points out, Japan’s business world and ordinary Japanese are well aware that stopping imports of Russian wood, which used to be the main building material, would have a very negative impact on the Japanese economy and threaten the country with a serious “forest shock”. There is concern in business circles that if the Ukrainian crisis drags on, a shortage of Russian wood will have a very negative impact on the housing market and the prospects of ordinary Japanese.


Another Japanese publication, the Yomiuri Shimbun, stresses that by joining the anti-Russian sanctions, Japan has shot itself in the foot. After all, it was Moscow that assisted Tokyo in finding information about the Japanese prisoners of war who died. Now this work has come to a halt.


The Daily Mail reports on the consequences of the deterioration of Russian-Japanese relations due to the Ukraine crisis, which has dealt a serious blow to Japanese fishermen. Moscow is the key to the survival of Japan’s fishing towns, the publication wrote, noting in particular the Japanese concern over the fate of negotiations to set quotas for salmon and trout spawning in the Amur and other sea creatures in Russia’s adjacent waters. Panic has already broken out in Japan over the fact that the loss of a key supplier of marine life will pose a serious test for Tokyo – it will not only hit the island nation’s economy, but will also pose a real threat to the food security of northeast Japan… Above all, Japan’s seafood market will shudder as prices increase multiple times.


Vladimir Danilov, political observer, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”. Courtesy


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