James D. J. Brown PhD, a 2011 Daiwa Scholar, now a lecturer in International Relations at Temple University, Japan in Tokyo, with a keen interest in Russian-Japanese relations, has recently had a thought-provoking and elegantly-written paper on energy and Russian-Japanese relations published in Post-Soviet Affairs.
The 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Russian-Japanese relations
There can be no question that 2011 marked a turning point for Japan in many respects. In addition to the immediate environmental, health, and social consequences of the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis, the disaster will have profound political implications. This paper investigates the significance of these effects in one area: Russian–Japanese relations. Specifically, it is asked whether, in combination with pre-existing economic and strategic incentives, the closure of Japan’s nuclear plants and resulting need to secure abundant new supplies of energy will finally prompt a sustained warming in ties between Japan and its resource-rich northern neighbour.
The merits of this proposal are evaluated through close examination of developments in the energy and political fields between March 2011 and February 2013. Findings indicate that there has indeed been a significant increase in energy ties, accompanied by a remarkable turnaround in political relations. This demonstrates that large-scale improvements in this relationship can quickly be achieved when the incentives are right, although whether such progress can be translated into resolution of the territorial dispute remains doubtful.
The article, The 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Russian-Japanese relations, can be read via the following link for Taylor and Francis online:Taylor and Francis online