MGIMO and Japan Institute of International Affairs Hold X Bilateral Conference

MGIMO and Japan Institute of International Affairs Hold X Bilateral Conference

23 December 2020

December 23rd, the 10th anniversary conference of MGIMO and the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA) was held in a remote format.

The conference began with welcome speeches by T.Ichikawa, Director General of the Japan Institute of International Affairs and A.Baykov, MGIMO’s Vice-Rector for Research and International Cooperation. T.Ichikawa remarked in her talk that it is important to discuss Russian-Japanese relations after the change of cabinet in Japan and with the arrival of a new presidential administration in the United States next year, which will have a significant impact on the situation in Asia and the Indo-Pacific region. A.Baykov described Russia's approach to international relations, security and development issues in the Asia-Pacific region, noting the emergence of new security challenges resulting from heightened regional tensions. He also underlined that Japan is an important regional and global partner for Russia and highlighted promising areas for future collaboration in a post-pandemic world.

The main topic the conference was the prospects for Russian-Japanese cooperation under the new Y.Suga administration in Japan. In his report, T.Abiru, Senior Researcher at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, characterized the current state of Russian-Japanese relations and the progress made on security, politics and economics questions under S.Abe's administration in Japan. The researcher also highlighted the difficulties associated with differences in views on the strategic situation in East Asia. D.Kamakura, a researcher at the Institute of Developing Economies of the Japanese External Trade Organization, gave a talk on Russia and Japan’s relations with China and the positions of both countries regarding the Belt and Road Initiative promoted by the PRC. The Head of the Department of Oriental Studies, Professor D.Streltsov, described the policy of Japanese Prime Minister S.Abe towards Russia, analyzing the factors limiting the interaction between Russia and Japan but also those leading towards mutually beneficial cooperation. He also shared his insights on the future development prospects of Russian-Japanese relations under the Y.Suga administration and after the transfer of power in the United States to President J.Biden. The Senior Lecturer of the Department of Oriental Studies V.Nelidov spoke about the current state of Russian-Japanese relations, the legacy of S.Abe's cabinet, the possible limits to cooperation under the new administration of Y.Suga.

The conference was attended both by Japanese and Russian experts, including the Professor Emeritus of Kanagawa University N.Shimotomai, the Professor of Keio University Y.Hirose, the Research Fellow of the JIIA F.Hironori, the lecturer of Tama University A.Kobayashi, the Professor of the Department of Sociology S.Chugrov, the Associate Professor of the Department of Oriental Studies, Leading Expert of the ASEAN Center E.Koldunova and the Associate Professor of the Department of Oriental Studies, Research Fellow of the Center for Comprehensive Chinese Studies and Regional Projects A.Kireeva. All the experts at the conference agreed that maintaining contacts between the research circles of Russia and Japan helps to reinforce mutual understanding and to understand the possible consequences of political decisions as well as identify promising areas of cooperation. The speakers expressed hope that Russia and Japan would be able to find new areas of bilateral and regional cooperation in the post-pandemic world, using multilateral institutions as a platform for greater cooperation in Asia.