Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi has called on democratic nations to have a tougher, more stringent response if Russian aggression against Ukraine does not stop, more so if the Kremlin decides to invade Ukraine.
Hayashi stated that if Japan, along with other democratic nations, does not take a tough response, it will only empower China to exert further control on disputed territories in Asia and neighboring countries, making them beholden to Chinese influence.
“If something happens on the Ukraine border, that outcome might affect other people’s calculations in Asia,” Hayashi said in an interview with “We have to be very sure about this,” said Hayashi in a report with The Washington Post.
This report comes after the Japanese Foreign Minister met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong last Saturday in Hawaii. The meeting’s main purpose was to discuss North Korea and concerns about its military missile testing, which has since increased in frequency. Other concerns were also discussed as part of their collaboration efforts, one being a unified stance against the Myanmar crisis where a military junta currently rules, China’s aggression in the Pacific, as well as the Russian aggression against Ukraine where Russian troops have begun to withdraw a day before the start of the alleged invasion.
“On the situation in Ukraine as well, we shared our deep concern. Through diplomacy and dialogue, Ukraine’s peace and stability should be re-established as early as possible, a position we reaffirmed,” said South Korean Foreign Minister Chung in a press conference.
Hayashi has since drawn comparisons between the Ukraine issue and the issue of China and its intentions of a forced unification with Taiwan and several islands within the East China Sea, many of which are also controlled by Japan. While the two situations differ, Hayashi stated that China may be influenced by a potential Russian success of an invasion (if it ever happens) as various countries have not taken any hardline action to reprimand Russian aggression in the region aside from major players. He did say that he did not mean only China but also other countries who intend to annex or invade countries.
“I don’t mean only China, but any country could draw from this case if it really happens,” Hayashi stated. He also said that Japan could join the US and European sanctions against the Kremlin if Russian aggression continues. However, Russia has vehemently denied these allegations of an invasion and has stated that it wants to pursue a diplomatic solution. In the past weeks, it has accused the United States of spreading false information about an impending invasion.
This Russian response was due to the United States reporting that they had uncovered a plot by the Russians to invade Ukraine on February 16. SOFREP previously reported that National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan had urged all Americans to evacuate Ukraine due to intelligence reports that an invasion would eventually be launched after the Beijing Olympics had concluded. He went on to say that the threat was “immediate.” Along with this intelligence report, the US had sent thousands of troops to NATO allies in Poland and Romania, US destroyers stationed in the Meditteranean, and also sent various fighter jets to Estonia, Poland, and the UK.
Out of concern towards Ukraine, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a bid to support Ukraine’s sovereignty against a Russian invasion. During the call, the Japanese PM had also expressed its readiness to provide Ukraine assistance in the form of loans of at least $100 million.
He went on to say that “We would respond appropriately, including sanctions, in cooperation with the G7 and the international community” if ever Russia decides to push through with an invasion. These stern words come after Russian naval forces near the Sea of Japan had been increasing in recent weeks, showing off its capacity to operate around the region amid new flourishing connections between the Kremlin and China following a meeting between Russia’s Putin and China’s Xi before the Beijing Winter Olympics.