Japan’s Opaque Energy Policy toward Russia: Is Abe Being Trumped by Putin?
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with his self-proclaimed deep trust in President Vladimir Putin, has made striking a historic deal on improving Japan-Russia relations a priority. The Abe administration’s economic cooperation proposals prioritize the energy sector as an area to capture Moscow’s interest, despite difficulties identifying economically viable gas and oil projects. Russia aims to consolidate and strengthen its LNG export capacity against emerging competition with the U.S., and Tokyo has pursued policies that essentially underpin this ambition, despite the importance of U.S.-Japan cooperation on LNG to Japan’s long-term interests and energy security.
- The Abe administration needs to realize that only power politics will draw Moscow’s serious attention to improving Japan-Russia relations. Tokyo’s appeasement policy reflects wishful thinking on the outcomes of economic cooperation and will likely be exploited by Putin to further destabilize the West without offering tangible benefits in return to Japan.
- Japan should stop politically covering up the difficulty of identifying economically viable gas and oil projects in Russia, given that they would not bolster Japan’s energy security or weaken the Sino-Russian partnership.
- The U.S. and Japan should accelerate efforts to jointly shape the expansion of the global LNG market and increase further market opportunities for U.S. LNG exports. A thorough review of Japan’s energy policy toward Russia should be undertaken to ensure that it does not damage this strategic objective.
Find the full article at the National Bureau for Asian Research.
Economic Dreams and Geopolitical Realities: How will the India-China-Russian Dynamic Unfold in Greater Central Asia?
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Greater Central Asia (GCA) has undertaken various efforts to reshape the political and economic landscape of Asia. This has driven a process by […]
If Not North Korea, Who Will Be Japan’s Chief Antagonist?
The last year has seen sharp turns in the relationships between North Korea and its neighbors. After tough rhetoric back and forth between the United States and North Korea, we […]
Greater Central Asia: China, Russia or Multilateralism?
Chapter in Sustainable Land Management in Greater Central Asia, An Integrated and Regional Perspective, edited by Victor R. Squires, Lu Qi. About the book: Greater Central Asia encompasses a vast area that […]
China’s Evolving North Korea Policy
Introduction* It would seem common sense that China’s policies seldom change due to its complexity, rigidity, and size of decision-making system. Therefore, policies should be characterized more by continuity than […]
Snapshot of the U.S.-China Trade War
Summary • The U.S.-China Trade War is the culmination of a longstanding trade friction. Washington cites unfair Chinese trade practices and intellectual property violations, allegations that Beijing has challenged. • […]
Pacifist Identity, Civics Textbooks, and the Opposition to Japan’s Security Legislation
Summary: This article looks at how Japanese national identity is constructed in Japanese junior high school civics textbooks and how that narrative relates to recent Japanese security policy. The article […]