DC Policy Forum on Russia in the US-Japan Alliance

“Russia in the US-Japan Alliance? Beyond Chinese and North Korean Challenges”

 US relations with Russia have become a major focus in Washington following the election of President Trump. US-Russian relations had been on ice since the crisis in Ukraine, and while it was widely believed that the election of Trump would offer the possibility for a reset, this has not been forthcoming. Suspicions over Russia’s interference in the election have further undermined an already fragile relationship.

By contrast, Japan under PM Abe has consistently sought better relations with Russia. Although officially signed up to the international sanctions over Ukraine, Japan ignored the advice of the Obama administration and seductively dangled prospects of economic cooperation in front of President Putin. However, this made no impression on the latter, who demolished Japan’s hopes of a Northern Territories resolution (with the return of two islands) in the December 2016 Leaders’ Summit, while also succeeding in dividing Japan from the rest of the G7. Despite the presence of the US-Japan Security Alliance, therefore, the two countries are out of step when it comes to relations with Russia. This workshop will focus on how we should think about US-Japan relations with the Russian bear in the room.

Additionally, the session will consider how this affects relations with an increasingly prominent China and the possible response to the threat of North Korea, which with its nuclear development and missiles appears the principle threat looming over the region. Understandings regarding these challenges also have an influence on the place of Russia within the US-Japan Security Alliance.

Drawing upon the panelists combined expertise in US-Russia, Russia-Korea, Russia China and Russia-Japan relations, this session will demonstrate the value of triangulating these issues when thinking about the role of Russia in US-Japan relations, and look to how these various challenges are potentially able to be overcome through the Alliance.

26 February 2018 (10:30-12:00)
USJI Office Seminar Room, 2000 M Street, Washington DC 20006

Hosted by:

Guadalupe Correa Cabrera (George Mason University)

Roundtable Participants:

Yong-Chool Ha (University of Washington)

Matthew Rojansky (Woodrow Wilson Center)

Paul J. Saunders (Center for the National Interest)

Akihiro Iwashita (Kyushu University / Hokkaido University)


Serghei Golunov (Kyushu University)

Moderated by:

Edward Boyle (Kyushu University)

See the flyer HERE.