Japanese PM warns of Ukrainian-style invasion by ‘autocratic powers’ | Japan

Boris Johnson and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida have warned that the invasion of Ukraine could be replicated in East Asia if democratic powers do not resist autocratic ones.

“Ukraine could be East Asia tomorrow,” Kishida said on a visit to London on Thursday, as he called on Indo-Pacific leaders to recognize that the invasion of Ukraine was not just a European problem. Asked about the implications for Taiwan, he said: “We must work together with our allies and like-minded countries, and never tolerate a unilateral attempt to change the status quo through the use of force in the Indo- Pacific, particularly in East Asia. ”

He added: “Russia’s blatant aggression against Ukraine is a flagrant violation of international law, which prohibits the use of force against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a nation.”

Earlier, Johnson said: “We in the UK recognize that our security in Europe is inseparable from security, our collective security, in Asia-Pacific, in the Indo-Pacific region.

“And there is a direct reading from the actions of autocratic and coercive powers in Europe, to what can happen in East Asia.” The two countries have signed a mutual access agreement for their two forces, in part dedicated to keeping the seas free and open.

Kishida also announced new sanctions, including an asset freeze on 140 Russian people and the extension of an export ban to include Russian military companies.

The package was announced the day after Russia imposed asset bans and travel freezes on 60 Japanese officials, including Japanese cabinet members and the prime minister himself. Kishida called the Russian action completely unacceptable.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party in Kishida recently proposed a substantial increase in defense spending – possibly up to an amount equivalent to 2% of gross domestic product, up from the current 1% – and capability development to attack missile launch sites in enemy territory. He said that following the Russian invasion, he was trying to instill a crisis mentality in the Japanese people.

In the face of July’s elections and rising energy prices that are squeezing voters’ budgets, Kishida said nuclear power would be a bigger part of the country’s future energy policy.

He said Japan would tackle the “vulnerability of our own energy self-sufficiency” by expanding its sources of energy supply, promoting renewable energy and using nuclear power to diversify its sources of generation.

Japan has become more dependent on Russian gas since nuclear reactors shut down after the 2011 Fukushima disaster, in which an earthquake and tsunami triggered a meltdown, devastating its northeast region. The country is reluctant to impose a total ban on Russian oil imports.

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Kishida’s visit to London was the conclusion of a major trip which saw him visit ASEAN members, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand. Japan will chair the G7 next year and Kishida is trying to rally East Asia to accept that Russia’s actions, born out of authoritarianism, pose a threat to stability and that, by extension , the region may have to resist China. Many countries in the region would prefer not to take sides in a competition between China and the United States.

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