New Report: Change and Continuity in Japan-Russia Relations: Implications for the United States


The Center for the National Interest is pleased to announce the publication of Change and Continuity in Japan-Russia Relations: Implications for the United States. The report is edited by Paul J. Saunders, Senior Fellow in U.S. Foreign Policy at the Center for the National Interest and John S. Van Oudenaren, assistant director at the Center. It features contributions by leading Japanese and American scholars: Tetsuo Kotani (Japan Institute of International Affairs), Shinji Hyodo (National Institute for Defense Studies, Japan), Shoichi Itoh (Institute of Energy Economics, Japan), Nikolas Gvosdev (U.S. Naval War College), Andrew Kuchins (Georgetown University) and Satu Limaye (East West Center).

A PDF version of the full report can be accessed here.

The report provides a synthesis of Japanese and American expert perspectives on the recent history, current state and future prospects for Japan-Russia relations. The authors examine the political, diplomatic, security, economic and energy dynamics of this important, but understudied relationship. They also assess how the Japan-Russia relationship fits within the broader geopolitical context of the Asia-Pacific region, factoring in structural determinants such as China’s rise and the level of U.S. presence in the region. Finally, the authors consider potential policy implications for the United States, paying special attention to how shifts in relations between Tokyo and Moscow could impact the U.S.-Japan alliance.

As Saunders observes in his introduction to the volume, the currently shifting strategic environment in the Asia-Pacific region, which is a central factor in Tokyo and Moscow’s efforts to foster constructive relations, also raises a host of questions for the US-Japan alliance. What are the prospects for Japan-Russia relations? What are Russian and Japanese objectives in their bilateral relations? How does the Trump administration view a possible improvement in Russia-Japan relations and to what extent will U.S. officials seek to limit such developments? Is the U.S.-Russia relationship likely to worsen and in so doing to spur further China-Russia cooperation? Could a better Russia-Japan relationship weaken the U.S.-Japan alliance? Or might it in fact serve some U.S. interests?