A former official from the United States’ National Security Council believes that it is in Japan’s best interest if they support the sanctions imposed by the US and other European countries on Russia for their attempt to annex Crimea from Ukraine. Michael Green, who was a senior director for Asian affairs at the NSC, says that they risk “undermining” its status as a “member of the liberal democratic club” if they do not support this move.
While Japan has issued a statement saying that the planned referendum in Crimea is unconstitutional, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has remained tight-lipped on whether they will be joining the US-led sanctions on Russia. A relationship between Japan and Russia, which has previously been hampered by the still ongoing territorial dispute over the Northern Territories, has been steadily developing the past few months, but current events may put it in jeopardy once again.
Green says that while good relations between the two countries may also seem good for “U.S. interests” and for Japan in the long term, he thinks that they will not be able to gain anything in the short-term. He says it’s highly unlikely that Russian President Vladimir Putin will concede to Japan regarding the islands and give up what they call the Kuril Islands. He added that given the way Putin is handling the Crimea situation, it might serve as a precedent for other countries to do the same, particularly China, with whom Japan also has an ongoing territorial dispute.
[via Jiji Press]