Japan’s Proactive Russia Policy

James D.J. Brown
August 8, 2017

Sasakawa USA Forum Issue No. 7

Japan’s Proactive Russia Policy

Implications for the U.S.-Japan Alliance

While the United States moves to apply tougher and more lasting sanctions on Russia, the Japanese government conversely pursues a rapprochement. The official explanation for this divergence is that Japan needs to seize a rare opportunity to resolve its territorial dispute with Russia. The reality, however, is that security considerations are at least as important. Faced with threats posed by North Korea and China, and uncertain about the endurance of the U.S. commitment to the region, Japanese strategists see the logic of cultivating closer ties with Russia and thereby neutralizing the emergence of a hostile Sino-Russian bloc. Japan’s contemporary Russia policy is also important as an initial sign of how a more proactive Japan may increasingly adopt policies that run counter to U.S. interests.


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About the author

James D.J. Brown is associate professor of Political Science at Temple University, Japan Campus. His main area of research is Japan-Russia relations. His work has previously been published in Asia Policy, The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, Europe-Asia Studies, International Politics, Post-Soviet Affairs, Problems of Post Communism, and Politics. His book Japan, Russia and their Territorial Dispute: The Northern Delusion was published by Routledge in 2016.


About the Sasakawa USA Forum

This paper serves as Issue No. 7 of the Sasakawa USA Forum, a platform for research and analysis related to Japan and U.S.-Japan relations in a bilateral, regional, and global context. In order to gain a more comprehensive view of U.S.-Japan relations, the Sasakawa USA Forum publishes research from experts outside of our organization. Click here for details on how to submit research for consideration.

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