When Russia invaded Ukraine a year ago this week, many lawmakers and experts in the U.S., Europe and Asia warned that the move could embolden China to carry out its long-standing threat to forcibly unify the mainland with self-ruled Taiwan.

The concern was that China and its increasingly capable People’s Liberation Army (PLA) would draw inspiration from Moscow’s aggression and invade Taiwan, further tilting the regional balance of power in its favor, particularly after the two sides had claimed to have a "no-limits” friendship.

The invasion prompted a number of political shifts unseen in years, as Japan — as well as a number of other countries — began bolstering their defenses and expanding security networks. Tokyo, for its part, adopted a mantra as the war broke out: “Ukraine may be the East Asia of tomorrow.”