The Ukraine war has posed a unique challenge for Asia’s democracies.

The conflict is far away, it involves cultures distinct from this region and its impacts will be most directly felt in Eastern Europe. Russia’s complaints and motivations mostly concern the West, particularly the post-Cold War European settlement that significantly reduced Russian power there. Inevitably then, the West’s response has been the most active; it is in the firing line.

But there are Asian ramifications, too, which Japan, to its credit, seems to have grasped. Despite its long hesitation on the use of sanctions — at odds with the regular use of sanctions by its American ally — Tokyo appears to have decided that this Russian aggression needs to be punished. The Russian invasion is blatant imperialism.