Russian political cartoon: Putin & the slant-eyed Japanese
President Vladimir Putin is shown trying to grab Crimea, while off to the side a couple racial caricatures of Japanese people are standing by the Kuril Islands (known as the “Northern Territories” in Japan).
The conflict in Crimea puts Japan is a tricky situation. On the one hand, Japan’s postwar governments have always stood against the idea of seizing territory by force, and overlooking Russian aggression towards the Ukraine could set a bad precedent when Japan is facing the possibility of territorial aggression from China. But, on the other hand, the Abe administration wants to improve its relationship with Russia with the hopes of getting back the Northern Territories. And, after the 2011 decision to turn off Japan’s nuclear power plants, the country has become increasingly dependent on gas imports from Russia.