Japan-Russia relations in perilous free fall

The perennially tense relationship between Tokyo and Moscow has taken a significant turn for the worse in recent months and Asia-Pacific strategists should assess the relevant dangers.

On October 19, ten Russian and Chinese warships passed through the Tsugaru Strait, a relatively narrow sea passage separating the main Japanese islands of Hokkaido and Honshu. 

While the passage was not illegal, since the course was in designated international waters, the show of force serves as an unambiguous reminder to the Japanese that they have powerful, not especially friendly neighbors with their own agendas concerning the regional and global order. 

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