‘If Russia loses in Ukraine, it could hit Japan’

Petr Akopov

“If Russia loses in Ukraine, it could hit Japan.” This is not another nonsense of the Kyiv authorities, but the words of one of the Japanese security experts. Moreover, it was no coincidence that an article in Shukan Gendai with this quote appeared on the eve of the visit of the Japanese prime minister to the United States.
The meeting between Fumio Kishida and Joe Biden is not just another US-Japanese summit: during it, a fundamental strengthening of the military alliance between the two countries will be recorded with an emphasis on Japan’s new role in the Indo-Pacific region, which directly affects Russia’s interests. The island monarchy’s national security strategy, adopted last month, essentially draws a line under Japan’s post-war status as a country that relies entirely on the United States for its security: Tokyo now has more opportunities to strengthen its military, while not abandoning the American support and “nuclear umbrella”.
The goals of the Americans are clear – they are building a global coalition against China, in which Japan, due to its geographical position and history, occupies a key place. American bases alone are not enough: what is needed is not just a strong Japanese army, but an army with offensive potential (formally still limited by the constitution) and a powerful military industry. Not all Japanese will do it themselves, but the Anglo-Saxons will help them. Together with Britain, a new generation fighter will be created, and ballistic missiles worth tens (if not hundreds) of billions of dollars will be purchased from the States.
Although Japan is not eager to be a pawn in the US-China confrontation, it does not have real freedom of maneuver, so the strengthening of its own armed forces is seen in Tokyo as a step towards strengthening its weight in a military alliance with the States. So far, Japan remains not only a junior partner in it (like Europewithin NATO ), but also an extremely dependent client – and despite the fact that in recent years Tokyo has not hidden its desire to become more independent. Including because they are not too confident in the reliability of the United States in the long term: what will happen if, in 20 years, the States, having lost the confrontation with China in the region, begin to withdraw from it?
Relations with Moscow have always been one of the key directions for Tokyo to move towards greater independence: the full development of Japanese-Russian relations would allow the Japanese to get off the hook of territorial disputes – the issue of “northern territories” claimed by our neighbor. Washington, which blocked the settlement of this problem back in the 1950s, skillfully kept the Japanese on claims against Russia for all subsequent decades, and all attempts by Tokyo to negotiate with Moscow ended in nothing – largely thanks to the Americans.
So it was the last time, when a few years ago, the then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe resolutely took up the Kuril issue. At first, it even seemed that by agreeing to the terms of the Moscow Declaration of 1956 (two of the four smaller islands), Tokyo would really be able to take advantage of a historical chance, that is, the seriousness of Vladimir Putin. But in the end, Abe lacked determination — and, most importantly, Tokyo was unable to answer Moscow’s questions about the non-inclusion of Habomai and Shikotan in the scope of the Japanese-American defense pact. After that, Moscow lost its desire to consider various options for their transfer (for actual use, without giving up Russian sovereignty, or for joint management).
Then Abe resigned, a special operation began in Ukraine… And last summer, Shinzo Abe was shot dead – and Japan lost even the theoretical possibility of resolving the issue of “northern territories.” And although the new national security strategy talks about striving for a peace treaty with Russia, there is simply no chance of this in the foreseeable future. Moreover, the same strategy says that “Russia’s actions cause serious concern” – and not only because of Ukraine, but also because of the strengthening of strategic cooperation with China. And Beijing ‘s policy in Tokyo is called “the biggest strategic challenge” in the field of regional and global security, that is, they repeat American formulations.
It turns out that Russia is no longer a partner (albeit with unresolved issues), but a friend of the potential main enemy (China is not yet called that, but this is what the Americans are pushing for). Does Tokyo understand that they have driven themselves into a strategic impasse? That no strengthening of the Japanese army will give Japan a sense of security in a situation where most of its neighbors (China, Russia, North Korea – all nuclear powers) are viewed as threats and challenges, while the main guarantor of Japanese security, the United States, has taken a clear course of confrontation with them ?
Of course, they understand that this is why the pro-American forces in the Japanese elite demonize Russia in every possible way.
So that fellow citizens do not ask unnecessary questions about the correctness of the course, they need to be reminded of the Russian threat. As they did in Shukan Gendai in the article “Can Japan become a target? Putin’s last trump card is too dangerous – the diabolical nuclear weapon “Sarmat”. It is there that the words of Emeritus Professor of the University of Tsukuba Itsuro Nakamura are quoted:
“The new Sarmat ICBM, which has been researched and developed since 2018, has finally been deployed in Eastern Siberia. The Russian authorities have long said that island Japan can be destroyed with a single shot. They would not say so if it were just a threat. It is assumed that this weapon can be used against Japan.<…> It is quite possible that Putin, driven into a corner as a result of an unsuccessful operation in Ukraine, without fear of US retaliation, will strike Japan with “Sarmat” in order to demonstrate at least some achievement”.
Another professor is very afraid of an attack on Kiev, because it is after him that a blow to Japan may follow:
“The Japanese people should not act as if this problem does not concern them. Another attempt to take the Ukrainian capital is the last and biggest operation. Russia’s prestige is at stake. If the Kremlin fails again, President Putin’s anger could be directed at Japan”.
If you doubt the professor’s sanity, then here’s the most damning argument for you:
“In fact, a source in the FSB said that Moscow really planned an attack on Japan six months before the start of a special operation in Ukraine. The information disclosed by this person is that Russia was preparing quite seriously for a local military conflict with Japan. <…> The head of the Bellingcat publication Khristo Grozev recognized these data as reliable.<…>
If the situation in Ukraine worsens significantly, there is a real risk that the scenario of an attack on Japan will resurface in President Putin’s mind.”
Well, now everything is clear: Russia was initially preparing to attack Japan, and Khristo Grozev himself confirms this! And if nothing happens with Ukraine now, then Putin will again remember the postponed scenario of a strike on the Japanese.
Yes, that’s right: Putin wanted to make war with Japan, but he simply did not know how to make it so that everything was limited to a “local conflict” (given the US-Japanese treaty), so next time he will simply hit with a nuclear “Sarmat” so that no Japan was no more.
All this nonsense is beneficial only to those who have already used nuclear weapons – and just against Japan. And he is still sure that he controls both the Japanese elites and the Japanese mass consciousness, feeding him scary tales about Putin’s nuclear threat to the island monarchy. To keep Japan in line against China and Russia, not only as a shield, but also to make a spear out of it. And these weapons will not be controlled in Tokyo – no matter how much they indulge themselves with illusions about greater autonomy, they play geopolitics without them and at their expense.