Open Forum

How Japanese officials, media, and academics interpret the state of the relationship between China and Russia matters for Japan’s diplomacy with both countries and its foreign policy more generally, including with the United States. If they see a strong bond verging on an alliance with little chance of weakening, then Tokyo must accept that it has few options other than to draw closer to the United States and stress ties to other Asian states to limit the reach of China and Russia separately and together. If Russia is nervous about the widening power gap with China and looking for other states to balance China, then Tokyo’s diplomatic options with Moscow widen. Given the recent priority on improving relations with Russia, analysis of Sino-Russian ties is worthy of close examination in order to grasp the logic of Japanese expectations.

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