In 2019, Japan’s involvement in the Russian energy sector increased significantly, most notably with the purchase by a Japanese consortium of a 10% stake in Russia’s Arctic LNG-2 project. The Abe administration evidently hopes that these new investments will bring benefits, both in terms of energy economics, and as a means of furthering Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ambition to settle Japan’s territorial dispute with Russia. In both respects, the Japanese leadership risks disappointment.
A roundup of the most significant news stories from Japan reported in the first half of December 2019.
A roundup of the most significant news stories from Japan reported in the second half of June 2019.
A roundup of the most significant news stories from Japan reported on April 12, 2019.
Global warming is progressively creating a new reality that ships from East Asia, including Japan, might soon be regularly able to reach Europe more quickly via the shipping route that runs along Russia’s Arctic coast, from the Bering Strait in the east to the Kara Sea in the west, rather than using the conventional route via the Suez Canal.
Canada is one of those countries whose relations with Japan seldom prompt front page news. However, in addition to sharing some key interests, certain developments may help the relationship grow tighter over the coming years. These include energy, a field where Ottawa is a major player and Tokyo is in the midst of a major overhaul. The two countries are also taking steps in security and defense cooperation.
In the midst of Japan’s energy woes, prompted by the Fukushima disaster and reinforced by the uncertainty arising from the tensions in East Asia, the arrival for the first time of a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) tanker through the Arctic Ocean and into the Pacific Ocean offers hope and the chance to diversify away from the sea lanes Tokyo currently relies upon for the bulk of its energy imports. This is possible thanks to the gradual melting of Arctic Ocean ice, technological developments, and Russia’s policy of energy export diversification.
The long string of incidents off the Senkaku-Diaoyu Islands this summer and the wider maritime territorial disputes in East and Southeast Asia have been overshadowing a major development with great potential implications for Japan: The northern sea route, linking East Asia with Europe through waters traditionally closed by ice to commercial navigation, are increasingly accessible during the Arctic summer thanks to the global warming.