Country Report: Japan (April 2022)


Country Report: Japan (March-April 2022)

Only one subject, understandably, has preoccupied Japanese media coverage of foreign relations over the past two months: the war unleashed by Russia in Ukraine and its ramifications for Japan’s relations with Russia, the United States, and China. This earthshaking geopolitical event not only spelled the death knell of nearly a decade of hopeful diplomacy with Vladimir Putin, it led to a reassessment of Japan’s security posture, its preparedness for war in the Indo-Pacific, and its sense of separation of Europe and Asia. Commentators often put it in broad historical perspective.

Japanese responses to the war have at least three distinct features. First, Russia’s war in Ukraine arouses alarm about parallels with a possible war launched by China involving Taiwan. Second, as Japan’s closest neighbor, Russia is viewed through the lens of what might change in its behavior nearby and in bilateral relations. Third, as a country still limited by its pacifist postwar legacy, this is a wake-up call for a new outlook befitting a new era in Japan, globally and in the Indo-Pacific region more specifically. The Japanese debate resonates in unprecedented arguments about how to respond. In this context, some look back to Abe’s legacy with Putin and reevaluate it.

Month One of the Ukraine War

After the war was launched by Putin on February 24, the old divide in how Japan-Russia relations were covered largely disappeared. On the left, as in Tokyo Shimbun, and the right, in Sankei Shimbun, longstanding criticisms of cozying up to Putin only intensified. In Yomiuri Shimbun the earlier drift away from supporting a soft line toward Putin accelerated. The few figures who had been eager boosters of Abe’s overtures to Putin found new outlets to keep pleading their case in wartime, but the balance shifted sharply to the most ardent critics of Abe’s policy. In the shadows were some on the left, as in Asahi, who idealistically sought an early path to peace and revival of old ways as if no great break with the past would follow. Mostly, however, a new era was recognized in 2022.

On March 7 Yomiuri editorialized that Japan must be a leader in the international coalition versus Russia, praising the tough sanctions to which it had already agreed. This matters for deferring China in the future. As Europe and the United States consider tougher measures, Japan, too, must prepare for them. As the victim of nuclear war, Japan should speak out against Russia using nuclear weapons and should press it to exercise restraint. At the UN, Japan has a responsibility to press for cooperation from countries, beginning in Southeast Asia, whose relations are distant with Europe and the US. In 2014, Yomiuri acknowledges, Japan, in consideration of the Northern Territories, did not at first line up with others on sanctions. With relations not advancing now, Kishida has made the right judgment. Japan has returned to its original position on these islands. It should accept Ukrainian refugees and offer humanitarian assistance. The Japanese people should contact the Ukrainian embassy and others to show their support in various ways. Yomiuri strongly supported Ukraine.

On the same day, Sankei went even further in calling for refocusing on the Northern Territories as the starting point of Moscow’s long history of expansionism that has now turned to Ukraine. These comments are in line with reports that after a decade of playing down security differences with Russia, Japan is now fundamentally reconsidering Russia, grouping it with China and North Korea. It is no longer a partner with which diplomacy and security cooperation could be strengthened. A new era has arrived, replacing the post-Cold War period, which lasted fully three decades. Defense of the liberal, international order in Japan echoed that in the West. Ukraine was a test. If Russia were to win, the world would return to the ways of the nineteenth century. International society is at risk, leaving it to power alone to decide the fate of nations.

The dissenting message on the left was to end the war by compromising with Russia and relying mainly on diplomacy to preserve the existing order. On March 2, Asahi carried a commentary by Tanaka Hitoshi saying that this is the watershed for the destruction of post-Cold War international society. He argued that sanctions alone will prove difficult; instead, diplomacy must be utilized, which means there will be no 100% victory. He urged not to turn Russia into an enemy by adding Finland and Sweden to NATO. Russia has drawn a line of states that must not enter NATO, and an agreement is possible only by observing that. To get Russia to compromise it is necessary to stop the needless flow of blood. International society needs a ceasefire. This view appearing on the left echoed the idealistic, even pacifist, aura of years past.

On March 12 Daily Shincho asked if the Northern Territories would ever be returned, observing that Putin’s lies had deceived Abe. It recalled Abe’s words in Singapore in 2018, saying that resolving the issue left for 70 years since the war was what he and Putin agreed to do. Yet in September 2021 Putin declared a duty-free zone on the islands and strengthened actual control. Putin’s actions there were expansion preceding Ukraine. He had no intention to discuss their return with Japan. Articles bemoaned the impact of the war on the return of the islands and on fishing. On the right, the islands again became a centerpiece in thinking about Russia’s bad nature.  

Gendai Business on March 10 depicted Japan as sandwiched between two nuclear powers on the south and the north. China has ambitions over the Senkakus, Taiwan, and even Okinawa, as reported in a Chinese source in 2013. A Russian author in 2018 said Putin spoke of the Ainus as original inhabitants of Russia. Hokkaido is in danger, warned a February 22 article in Evening Fuji. If intelligence is correct that Russia has agents in Ukraine to support its war, China in Okinawa and Russia in Hokkaido may be planting armed forces for an invasion, perhaps landing on Nemuro and considering the use of nuclear weapons. On the net, some say that since Japan is a US ally it is unlike Ukraine, but defense demands preparing for worst-case scenarios, and the US, as in Ukraine, would, if there is no attack on US bases, likely not give nuclear weapons to Japan. If a dispute with China arose and Japan redirected troops from the north, Russia could attack. Both could attack at the same time. Citing article nine of the Constitution and appealing to Putin and Xi only opens the gates to hell. In a Taiwan contingency China could attack islands in the southwest, while Russia moved in the north, leaving Japan at a loss on where to send troops. If one adds North Korea, Japan and the Japan-US alliance are not safe. Kishida must not only criticize Russia, he must reconsider the defense system of Japan, wrote Ogura Kenichi. The right foresaw an existential danger on two sides.

In Diamond Online on March 1, why Japan should care about Russia’s invasion is explained. If this were to succeed, then when China invaded Taiwan and the Senkakus, the impact on Japan would be considerable. Thus, the “Ukraine question” is nothing but the “Japan question.” The Ukraine war freed Japan to revive language about the Northern Territories dropped or obscured through Abe’s diplomacy, such as Japan’s “inherent territory.” Kishida’s words before the Diet on March 7 and the homepage of the foreign ministry were a throwback. Abe had tried to avoid arousing Russia despite the fact that Russia showed no similar restraint in its language toward Japan. In 2019, Japanese leaders were most restrained as if a breakthrough was in sight. Recalling the naming of a minister just to handle economic cooperation with Russia came with regrets. A Yomiuri poll found that 81 percent regarded Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a threat to Japan. Asked on March 4-6, respondents linked it to an armed attack by China of Taiwan, which only 1 percent did not think would be such a threat.

Reviewing Soviet aggression in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968, Japanese referred to a Putin-brand Brezhnev Doctrine. No longer is it a socialist community, but it also limits the sovereignty of separate states. It is imperialist logic of the strong eating the weak and cannot be tolerated. The Ukraine war drew renewed attention to threats to Japan in Asia with calls to defend its core security interests better, primarily with China in mind. Whereas in the Abe era, Japan had stressed the differences between China and Russia and the possibility of driving a wedge between them, now it is obsessed with the similarities and spillover from one to the other.

Elsewhere one reads that if Taiwan were occupied US security would not be directly threatened, and it would be wary of a war with nuclear-armed China. In a game of chicken, the US would blink first. Moreover, the Senkaku Islands are much less important to the US than Taiwan. The US and its allies would likely confine themselves to economic sanctions. For Japan, the situation is similar to that of Ukraine: it must rely on itself to defend its own land. Economic sanctions will not stand in China’s way. It is prepared to pay a heavier economic price as others also suffer. In the case of the Senkakus, the US and allies would stick with modest sanctions. The only way out is for Japan to greatly boost its defense force.

On March 1, Sato Masaru in Mainichi explained Russian thinking that an administration cooperative with Russia must be established by removing Zelensky, and in 2-3 years with Russian leadership in the background this will be acceptable to Ukraine. On March 3, in PRESIDENT Online Sato Masaru wrote thar Putin’s aim is not to establish a puppet regime, unlike what is said in most media. Instead, he sees three objectives: (1) protecting Russian-origin people in Luhansk and Donetsk; (2) preventing Ukraine from becoming a military threat; and (3) making sure there is a buffer, protecting Russia’s security. Sato, who has long backed a soft line toward Putin and expressed optimism about a breakthrough in relations, again minimized the ambitions of Russia.

Gendai Business, drawing on a March 13 interview, asked if Putin is really bad. In invading Ukraine, Russia has raised the danger of a third world war. The first foreign politician to meet Putin after he took office was Suzuki Muneo. He is asked here about the endgame for Japan-Russia relations. As for why Putin invaded Ukraine, he explained that Zelensky had behaved strangely after he became president in 2019 in regard to the Minsk agreement. He called for a new agreement, as one sign of inexperienced behavior as his ratings were falling. In 2021 to boost them he appealed to join NATO. The cause of the war is traced back to 1990 and the unification of Germany when Moscow was assured that NATO would not expand to the east. When Zelensky broke this promise, threatening to bring NATO troops to the border of Russia, it was a big deal. In finding an end to the war, Zelensky’s position must not be overlooked, concludes Suzuki. He notes that the leader of Ukraine skillfully used the anti-Russian faction to rally people to defend the nation. He adds that all the news in the media now comes only from the Ukrainian side. In Europe, the US, and Japan, the Russian position is completely missing. Further, Suzuki asserts that he thinks Putin cares about avoiding civilian casualties. The interviewer notes that apart from Suzuki and Sato Masaru nobody in Japan is speaking this way, to which Suzuki responds he is, therefore, being criticized on Twitter, as is even his daughter, a Diet member with no connection to this.

In contrast to Sato and Suzuki, Hakamada Shigeki has long opposed the soft line Japan took toward Russia and, in 2022, intensified his critique of the past. Hakamada on March 19 in Daily Gendai asserted that Putin did not suddenly become an imperialist. He had praised the most reactionary 19th century tsar Aleksandr III earlier, and he used force to seize Crimea, where he erected a memorial to that tsar. Russia does not need friends or allies, Russia has just two allies—its army and navy—are words with which Putin agreed. Lavrov said that from the time of Ivan the Terrible nobody in the world sought a strong Russia. On March 15 in the same source, Hakamada repeated that Putin did not suddenly go crazy. As soon as Russia grew wealthy on energy exports, Putin was consumed with reviving past great power consciousness, expanding Russia’s sphere of influence across the old Soviet Union and expelling Europe and the US influence there. For that reason, he could not allow NATO expansion. Yet, those countries saw a threat from Russia and, one after another entered NATO.

Neutrality is unrealistic. A neutral state, such as Switzerland or Sweden is not disarmed, as Putin seeks for Ukraine without Zelensky. In fact, Putin is seeking a puppet state. However, Russia’s economy is in bad shape, meaning that after this outcome both Russia and Ukraine would be in political and economic difficulty. On March 14 in the same source, Hakamada said Russia’s invasion was Putin’s miscalculation. No end is in sight to this classic war of 100 years ago. Clearly, Putin and Russian forces had been too optimistic, but this can be traced back to 2014, when victory without bloodshed was possible as Ukrainian forces retreated, surrendered, and were not supported by the US and Europe, as was also the case in 2008 in Georgia. Putin got the wrong message, concludes Hakamada.

Month Two of the Ukraine War

On March 24 Toyo Keizai discussed the Abe legacy and Russia’s attack. It noted that according to Putin the invasion of Ukraine has greatly set back talks on the Northern Territories. Abe had tried to appeal to Putin through “relations of personal trust,” shifting to the “return of two islands first.” By reviewing the upbeat agreements over Abe’s tenure, the article stresses his desire for a legacy. His close aide Imai Takaya was dissatisfied with the foreign ministry, saying it had “no ideas” for advancing the talks, but it was Putin who showed no interest in an agreement. Leaving the territorial issue vague, Russia sought to extract economic assistance. No progress was seen under Abe’s successors also. Then Kishida joined Europe and the US in condemning the February 24 invasion and imposing sanctions.

Not only do Russian forces attack military objects, they bomb hospitals and schools. Kishida made it clear it was entirely Russia’s fault that bilateral relations have deteriorated. Japan’s position has been that four islands are illegally occupied and should be returned in a batch. It is Russia that should yield. Yet Abe was impatient for success and kept offering compromise proposals, as Putin strove to drive a wedge in the G7. The Japanese government and Diet have to reveal to the public the workings of past diplomacy with Russia and the details of negotiations and economic cooperation. If the war ends without political reform in Russia, Russo-Japanese diplomatic talks cannot be revived, the article insists. Yet, even in that situation, Abe’s “two islands first return” very possibly will resume. Abe’s legacy weighs heavily on Japan’s diplomacy. On Abe’s continuous diplomacy with Russia, a former foreign ministry official said, “In the world, politicians can be divided into two: those who trusted Mr. Putin, and those who did not. Abe and Trump are the former; Biden and Merkel are the latter.” The Ukraine war showed that Abe misjudged Russia’s leader.

Yomiuri editorialized on April 5 that the UN should send a fact-finding mission right away to investigate suspicions of Russian brutality. People are feeling intense anger over shocking images. The international court must conduct an investigation. The editorial proceeds to describe war crimes. Japan first of all should take this to the Security Council and the General Assembly. Lies from Russia persuade nobody. It is hard to understand the voices, even in Japan, that call for Zelensky to swallowRussian demands in order to reduce the sacrifices of his people. This would not bring safety. While we can wish for an early ceasefire, the precondition should be the withdrawal of Russian forces and respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty. The Japanese government must alleviate the pain from higher costs. Toughening sanctions should not be limited to coal. It is possible that oil imports will be banned. Planned reductions in energy reliance on Russia should go forward as quickly as possible. Germany, France, and Italy are expelling tens of diplomats and others. Japan has excluded fewer. If some Japanese diplomats are expelled from the embassy in Russia, all efforts are still desired to keep protecting Japanese and Japanese companies there.

A Yomiuri editorial on April 13 argued that the Ukraine crisis has worked to strengthen the defense system of Taiwan. In March Tsai Ing-wen had said she is reassessing the military’s recruitment system. Her predecessor had shifted to a volunteer system in 2018 as part of Ma Ying-jeou’s conciliatory line toward China. Public opinion (76%) supports continuation of the old system, with more than half worrying that in a contingency the US would not participate. The US did not directly join in the Ukraine war, adding to a sense of insecurity. Taiwan takes Ukraine’s willpower as well as success in reorganizing its forces since 2014 under consultation. Ukraine is mobilizing its citizens and modernizing its arms. The US, Europe, and Japan see the will of the people to fight and extend substantial assistance. Japan must join the US in continuing to convey that a Chinese invasion of Taiwan would not be beneficial to China, the editorial concludes.

In an Asahi editorial on April 12 an appeal was made for greater pressure to add more sanctions on Russia as the only way forward with Japan naturally doing its part. The government, in stages, is stopping the import of coal from Russia, banning new investment there, and announcing additional sanctions. Eight Russians in Japan—diplomats and commercial representatives—have been expelled. At a news conference Kishida called the conduct of Russian forces’ “war crimes” and declared his intention to assist investigations by the ICC. Japan relies on Russia for 13% of its electricity-generating coal, and some express caution in cutting this off, but standing with Europe and the United States takes priority. It is important to express its will not to accept conduct shaking the roots of the postwar order and in violation of international humanitarian laws. Asahi appears to have endorsed Kishida.

A Mainichi editorial on April 7 argued that unlike in the 2014 Crimean invasion, where misinformation was widespread, this time Russia is left in a disadvantageous position in the information war. Russia’s population can see the reality. The digital era increases the power of ordinary citizens. Hope is present in this sort of misinterpretation of Russian access to information. It is not so clear that this left-leaning newspaper is reinforcing Kishida.

An April 13 Sankei editorial argued that a US-Indian summit must make clear an “anti-Russia” position to line up with the US-Europe-Japan pressure. In avoiding direct criticism of Russia and not participating in sanctions, India’s position stands out and voices of dissatisfaction are raised in the US. India should change course as soon as possible. It is reported that India will increase purchases of Russian oil, offered at a discount. This must not be allowed. Today’s India should be a partner with Japan and others in a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.” Biden should appeal to the Quad meeting in Japan in late May, which Japan and the US will lead, delivering a strong message on Russia. At that occasion, China’s existence should not be forgotten. In opposition to authoritarian China, Japan and India must strengthen ties as Asian democracies, argues Sankei.
A Yomiuri editorial on April 12 discussed a 2+2 meeting with the Philippines under the heading defend order by linking up with an eye to China and Russia. It heralded the significance of the agreement to fundamentally advance security cooperation. This was the first 2+2 for these countries. The joint statement agreed that armed conduct is against international law. In Southeast Asia, only Singapore has joined in sanctions. The article called on Japan to continue to work to draw the Philippines to join, too. The joint statement notes the danger to international order extends to Asia, expressing concern that China is trying to change the situation in the East and South China seas through the use of force. In March, a Chinese naval vessel approached a Philippine cruiser, raising the danger of a collision, and the US Indo-Pacific command pointed out three artificial islands China has militarized. A plan has begun for Japanese and Philippine forces to visit and supply fuel, etc. to each other, making joint exercises easier and raising the capabilities of the Philippine military. Beginning with that country, the FOIP will strengthen ties to the states of Southeast Asia. Just the day before the 2+2, Duterte spoke by phone with Xi Jinping, who warned him against leaning to the US in military exercises, etc. The article offers a reminder that the 2016 court of arbitration ruling rejects the claim that the South China Sea falls under China’s sovereignty. Duterte retires in June. Japan should urge his successor to honor the court decision. It is important to advance actual security cooperation, the editorial concluded.

Sankei on April 14 also editorialized on this 2+2. It said that both countries are free and democratic, sharing fundamental values. An important subject was security in regard to the threat from China. Sea lanes vital to Japan pass through the sea near the Philippines. For Japan’s independence and prosperity, it is extremely important that the Philippines not be put under the influence of China. The 2+2 made clear that defense cooperation would strengthen. The largest US-Philippine joint exercises just finished on April 8. Japan and the US are deepening ties to Manila to block Chinese control of the South China Sea; however, in Duterte’s call on April 8 with Xi Jinping, Xi called for containing US-Philippine alliance strengthening. China is violating the sovereignty of the Philippines and Vietnam over islands in the South China Sea. One cannot overlook China’s military and economic power, and Duterte has spoken of setting aside the South China Sea question. Japan should work hard to boost ties with the administration that starts in May.

In Gaiko, No. 72, the focus was put on the shaken liberal international order and what is necessary to restore it. Hosoya Yuichi called the impact of the Ukraine war a tectonic shift in world history, deeply impacting the postwar, international order, to which Japan cannot be a bystander. This large-scale war among European powers has shaken the post-Cold War belief that such a conflict was impossible in Europe. As a firm supporter of a rules-based international order, Japanese foreign policy insists that Russia’s behavior stop, and Japan must join internationally to apply more pressure. If this were not to happen, it would mean Japan would be denying the diplomatic principles it has professed to date.

Hosoya Yuichi in the May Chuo Koron called Putin’s war “nineteenth century” and Zelensky’s war “twenty-first” century”—a view of the future international order, pitting Russia’s 850,000 soldiers against Ukraine’s 200,000. Is Putin not proceeding on a 19th-century view of the international order? At first, it was thought by many that Russia had a “Gerasimov Doctrine” accompanied by cyberwarfare, electric warfare, propaganda, and other advanced tools. In reality, bemoaning the demise of the 20th-century Soviet Union, Putin looked back to the 19th century, when wars were fought to extend spheres of influence and swallow other countries and raw power was decisive. For Ukraine it was not possible to match Russia’s raw power, and it was necessary to wait for Russia to reach deeply into Ukraine before cutting its logistics and resorting to guerrilla tactics. Zelensky relies on speeches on-line to various countries and winning the hearts and minds of people. He uses Turkish drones, American javelins, effectively resisting on the battlefield in a 21st century manner. Differences in leadership and intelligence have been pronounced, denying victory to forces earlier deemed superior. Images of barbarity raise questions about how a peace agreement could ever be reached and how a postwar order will take shape. What can be foreseen is a barbarous world order if we put the Ukraine war in the currents of long-term world history, warned Hosoya.

In the same April issue of Gaiko, Hyodo Shinji wrote about the influence of the Sino-Russian strategic partnership. While explaining that Russia would lean more on China and has already joined in military activity near Japan, he argued that the bilateral relationship is not simple. On the invasion, the position of China is neither supportive nor critical, but left vague. It has deep ties to Ukraine and does not want to be left isolated with Russia. In BRI Ukraine is a key juncture. In commerce, Chinese investments, and arms trade, ties are extensive. A Sino-Russian tug-of-war is under way over Ukraine. While Russia voices concern about US influence and seeks to put Ukraine in its sphere of influence, its honne (real intent) is that it does not like China’s excessive advance there, while China does not wish to see Ukraine totally under Russia’s control. If the two are together against the US, there is no simple bifurcation in China-Russia versus Europe-US over Ukraine. If China distances itself from Russia’s invasion, this may cast a real shadow on Sino-Russian cooperation. As for Japan, in 2014, due to the Northern Territories question, it applied softer sanctions on Russia. Now is different as there is no room for peace treaty negotiations, which had stalled. This year’s national security strategy will demonstrate a huge shift toward Russia. Yet Hyodo found the situation still in flux, adding how Japan should approach Russia in security is subject to reconsideration.

Elsewhere in this issue of Gaiko, it was affirmed that Japan must stand with the G7. Kishida is among its leaders hesitant to impose the heaviest sanctions, but Japan has been declared an unfriendly country by Putin. It still must prepare to deal with him after the war even as it applies pressure.

Iokibe Makoto in the same issue put Japanese diplomacy in the context of a changing Asia and international order. After two world wars, the era of employing force to resolve international conflict seemed to be over, counting on the P5 to police this order or the coexistence of two orders. All three long-serving postwar prime ministers—Yoshida, Koizumi, and Abe—forged especially close ties to US presidents. The administrations of Sato, Nakasone, and Abe played a vital role in connecting the US to Asia. They showed a desire to share in advancing the peaceful Asia-Pacific order. The message is unmistakable about Japan’s responsibility now on the US side.

In Yomiuri on April 17 Kitaoka Shinichi wrote about the invasion and the post-WWII international order, saying there is no end in sight for the war, which violates the most important agreement after WWII to resolve disputes without the use of force, Yet, this is not a rare event in history, as seen in Japan’s 1931 Manchurian incident, its 1937 war in China, and the 1939 US sanctions against Japan, as well as Germany’s behavior in the late 1930s. The West’s response was weak to Russia’s 2008 and 2014 aggression, as the US was seen as rife with division and then defeated in Afghanistan.

The postwar era to now was exceptionally stable. What lessons should now be drawn? First, Kitaoka argues, a small invasion, such as in Crimea, must not be treated lightly. Second, one should, first of all, defend one’s own country. Ukraine is not in NATO, and Japan has the Japan-US security treaty, but would the US help in a small-scale invasion? Third, one simply must not permit an invasion. Russia has been deeply wounded by this invasion, but it seems not to be able to admit defeat and retreat. The war will not likely end until Russia declares victory and annexes two eastern provinces. To avoid a larger war, it will be easy to compromise on an armistice line with territory lost. In postwar Japan some said conventional military power was pointless in the nuclear age. However, it is necessary, especially as preparation against an invasion, Kitaoka concludes. Fourth, it is necessary to strengthen ties to liberal countries. Many states are assisting Ukraine, including Germany and Japan. If your own state does not think it should assist an invaded country, why would others help you? Fifth, there is value in international law and the UN. Russian conduct cannot be permitted, but nuclear weapons have not been used, indicating a limit on its violation of international law (although it may do so in the future). The General Assembly responded even if the Security Council could not, further isolating Russia and making it hard for China to try to help it. Sixth, Japan urged countries such as Uganda, which in 2021 had received assistance from JICA, to support the resolution. Seventh, information is important, as in the 2010 Chinese ramming of a Japanese ship, when China spread false stories, Eighth, on territorial and historical matters, it is necessary to regularly make the case to international society, as in the view that the Qing was a country under the Manchus, not under the Han; that the Uighurs only comparatively recently became part of China; that Japan destroyed the pre-WWII international order and Nazi Germany was an even greater threat. Now China is the greatest threat. The world must join to make sure there is no axis of China and Russia. Japan is a key to that.

In a Yomiuri editorial on April 18 India was urged to fulfill the responsibility of a great power in its diplomacy with Russia. After all, it is part of the camp of democracies and has a duty to promote the stability of the international order. At a minimum, it should make clear it does not recognize Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It has avoided direct criticism of Russia or joining in sanctions. As others reduce dependence on Russian energy, India is seen as acting to expand its imports. It is worrisome that India may undercut the effects of sanctions. It is a huge problem If India ignores the UN charter and its own emphasis on “respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.” Will not international trust in India be lost? If China were to use force to change the situation on the Sino-Indian border, would India, given its attitude toward Russia’s violations of international law, be able to obtain widespread assistance from various countries? Through adjusting the high-value US weapons India receives it is necessary to continue efforts to reduce its dependence on Russia. Japan too must be in lockstep with international society in persuading India of this issue’s importance. The May Tokyo Quad summit will offer an opportunity to strengthen cohesion. This event looms high on Japan’s spring calendar.

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