Misperceptions Between Japan and Russia

Semyon Verbitsky, Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, Gilbert Rozman


The twentieth century has witnessed repeated occasions when Japan and Russia have taken each other's measure and decided on policy accordingly. In the years 1985 to 1999 such mutual testing occuned again amidst adjustments in the direction of each country's global role. As has often been the case, the RussoJapanese relationship was not the main event on the world stage. Both countries placed higher priority on relations with the United States and with China. But to rank this bilateral relationship below two others is not to belittle the stakes involved. For Russia, Tokyo's strategy to look east or west and within Asia to focus in the northeast or the southeast has throughout the century made a great difference in war or peace, in development or isolation. For Japan, Moscow's strategy to balance west and east, and in the east to concentrate on China or Japan, has had telling consequences for other foreign policy choices. At stake in this bilateral relationship have been the development of Siberia and the Russian Far East; the security environment in Northeast Asia including Korea; the prospects of triangular or quadrangular relations with China and the United States; and the balance of power among the world's great powers.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/cbp.2000.88


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