Abe between rock and hard place after Putin nabs Crimea

by Reiji Yoshida

Staff Writer

Russia’s deployment of troops on the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine put Japan in a difficult position Monday, as Tokyo, which has tried to build closer ties with Moscow, joined its Group of Seven counterparts to issue a statement strongly condemning Russia.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has tried to deepen Japan’s relationship with Russia in recent months, hoping to expand economic relations with the resource-rich nation and promote talks over the long-standing territorial row over the four Russian-held islands north of Hokkaido.

But the G-7 statement, jointly issued by Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain and the United States, condemned Russia for “clear violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

Asked whether Tokyo will keep expanding economic and political ties with Russia, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga ducked the question during a daily press briefing.

“Our country hopes all the parties involved will behave carefully with self-restraint and responsibility,” Suga said.

Since taking office in December 2012, Abe has held summit talks with Vladimir Putin five times, which is an unusually high number.

  • Dipak Bose

    Not a single shot was fired. The people of Crimea are and were Russian. They stayed in Ukraine, when it was a Soviet province and later when there was no conflict . Now as the Nazis have taken over Ukraine, supported y the Anglo-Americans and their slaves, of course the people want to join Russia. This will be repeated in the whole East and south Ukraine as well. Japan should not get involved .

    • echykr

      Tell that to the Crimean Tatars, who were forcibly evicted to Siberia by Stalin, and only started returning in small numbers after the Soviet Union collapsed.

    • Akira_Mishima

      Unfortunately Japan will do what the US government will tell her to do.

  • Yoshiko

    By the international standards – this was a pristine perfect operation on Crimea island by Russia. And i think that it was not completely russian, maybe Germany related here somehow – because it was made very perfectly like “blitzkrieg” (in comparison with the conflict in S.Osetia with Georgia). The main cause for this is very geopolitical – Europe don’t wanted to have the chinese in european Black sea and we know that China was very active to get a place there.The only and the most loser here is in fact not even Ukraine (yes they lost the island, but Ukraine is complete bankrupt and they don’t have money to even support the Crimea, so they will lost it anyway or sell it to China-which asking for it) – the loser is CHINA. Yes, China, because Ukraine before the revolution borrows the credit and some money for the grain supply. Ukraine not even fools the China without making any supply for paid grain – but they resell this grain to other countries and supply it to them. China is so angry now that they already registered the case in the international court for returning the money back. Ukraine also borrows the credit which by the terms must spend for chinese goods, but i’m very skeptical that the counties now will even start talking after such things on such level.

  • chang-hs

    OK, that’s the Russian version of the story. But I don’t think the government in Kiev can be compared to Nazis, and they provoke serious threat to people in Crimea. Also, people in Crimea do not seem to be as monolithic as you pretend. Overall, there is no justifiable cause for the Russian military aggression.