01 March 2014
The recent visit of the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Sochi for the Winter Olympics signalled some innovative diplomacy by Japan to reaffirm its position in the global geopolitical stakes. However, Japan-Russia relations continue to be hobbled by a long-festering territorial dispute.
JAPAN’S PRIME Minister Shinzo Abe’s Sochi visit for the Winter Olympics on 7 February 2014 came against the backdrop of several western leaders not attending the Games. Ever since coming to power, Prime Minister Abe has been expanding Japan’s foreign policy options as Japan’s ties with its neighbours China and South Korea hit new lows, especially in the aftermath of his visit to the controversial Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo.
While on one hand, Abe’s visit was meant to show support for Russia, which has been facing flak for its anti-gay laws and on issues of human rights, he knows too well that Japan would also require Russia’s support when it hosts the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. In addition, economic considerations are also at work since Japan, after the Fukushima disaster, has been forced to cut down on nuclear energy generation and has been scouting for alternative energy sources.
… Rupakjyoti Borah is an Assistant Professor of International Relations at the School of Liberal Studies, Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University, India. He contributed this to RSIS Commentaries.
RSIS / Online
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