Russian Federation and Japan increasing their security ties

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Russian Federation and Japan increasing their security ties

Joachim de Villiers and Lee Jay Walker 

Modern Tokyo Times

The Russian Federation and Japan are determined to develop several important areas in their respective security ties by working together in various essential areas. This is certainly welcome news in Japan because of several territorial disputes in Northeast Asia, including with the Russian Federation. However, while the territorial dispute between Japan and the Russian Federation remains problematic, it is clear that both nations favour diplomatic channels. Therefore, unlike Japan’s territorial disputes with China and South Korea, it is noticeable that you don’t have the same sabre rattling within the upper echelons of Japan and the Russian Federation.

Of course, from time to time the status quo may be challenged but this is usually met by diplomacy. After all, President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe both desire to improve relations in order to strengthen important areas related to economics, the political arena, security, energy related issues and cultural awareness.

It must be stressed that in the last decade it is clear that the Russian Federation is going through a major renaissance in relation to its geopolitical clout. This noticeably applies to strong ties with China, Germany, India, Iran – and a plethora of other nations. Also, the Russian Federation remains to be a visible player throughout Central Asia and ongoing events in Syria highlight the independence of this nation and its important leverages within the international community. Likewise, the volatile Korean Peninsula is of major importance to Japan and clearly the Russian Federation is perceived to be an honest broker during times of heightened tensions. Therefore, it makes sense for Japan to develop stronger ties and the same applies to the Russian Federation because Northeast Asia is of major strategic significance for this nation.

In another article by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated “The territorial dispute surrounding the Southern Kuriles/Northern Territories needs to be separated from issues related to economics, joint military initiatives and energy related issues. Japan can benefit greatly from the energy rich Russian Federation and Moscow can boost Japan’s clout in Central Asia because of powerful ties. In truth, both nations can enhance each other therefore mutual acceptance of this should “break the chains” of the territorial dispute.”

The Russian Federation and Japan face one major stumbling block and this applies to America and its design to deploy missile defenses in Northeast Asia with the consent of Japan. RIA Novosti reports Russian concern over the deployment of elements of a US missile defense network in Japan was the subject of “special attention” during talks in Tokyo this week between Russia’s defense and foreign ministers and their Japanese counterparts, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Saturday.”

Shoigu made it clear that the Russian Federation is alarmed by “…the creation by the US of a global missile defense system, including a Japanese element, is causing us grave concern, primarily over the possible destruction of the strategic balance of power in the Asia-Pacific region…” 

Naturally, Japan responded by reminding the Russian Federation that America remains to be pivotal for political elites in Tokyo and that the special relationship will continue while understanding Moscow’s concern. Fumio Kishida, the Foreign Minister of Japan, stated that “…the linchpin of Japan’s defense policy remains its union with the US, and there will be no changes in this respect.”

However, despite this, overall the meeting between the Russian Federation and Japan was most favorable. Kishida commented that “… Cooperation between Japan and Russia, as key players in the Pacific Ocean region, is important for fortifying peace and stability in the region.”

Therefore, greater cooperation will take place between both nations in areas related to international terrorism; coordination between ships from both nations in the volatile Horn of Africa; piracy; cooperate more strongly in powerful regional organizations like the Association of Southeast Asian Nations; cybersecurity; issues related to military exercises in the area of observation – and other important areas.

Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, stated “Our overall assessment is that, in addition to the already existing contacts, 2 +2 format of the meeting will play an increasingly important role in the improvement of the Russian-Japanese dialogue.” RIA Novosti

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