Japan announced some significant changes to its traditional foreign policy last week. It has said it would accept Ukrainian refugees from the Russian invasion and provide limited military resources to Ukraine.
Since World War II, Japan has neutralized international military conflicts and has not taken in refugees. According to reporting by the Washington Post, Japan’s move away from isolationism comes without international pressure.
It appears that the Japanese government decided to move forward with immediate modifications to its policies following the Russian attack on a Ukrainian power plant as part of its invasion. It is also believed that Japan has been creeping toward foreign policy changes as China’s international military and commercial presence has been growing in recent decades.
Japanese Liberal Democratic politician Akihisa Shiozaki said that the nation is becoming more doubtful about the power of the United Nations to handle the unprovoked aggression of member nations. He said that Japan is “awakening” to the fact that there are limitations to what the UN, diplomacy and economic sanctions can accomplish.
Shiozaki added that the changes in Japanese policy are “not about rewriting” the nation’s capabilities but are intended to “fill in details” for things that “may have been overlooked.” He said that accepting Ukrainian refugees will help Japan prepare for possible future humanitarian crises.
Shiozaki acknowledged that Japan needed to become better prepared for what may happen due to the “Taiwan contingency” during peacetime.
Asia Pacific Initiative Chairman Yoichi Funabashi said that Japan is now watching how Germany, in particular, is responding to the Ukrainian crisis and the “fundamental transformations” it is undertaking to “adapt to the new reality.”
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida recently said that the country needs a “fundamental upgrade” of its national defense. Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently suggested that the Japanese use nuclear weapons for the US as a preemptive defensive posture.
Abe said Japan should consider the NATO model whereby multiple European nations “take part in nuclear sharing.” He said his country should no longer “consider it taboo” to discuss.