Japan Throws Lifeline to Beleaguered Russia and Courts China

Japan’s Ministry of Finance released data on November 17 showing that trade between Japan and Russia remains robust this year, despite the United States’ efforts to convince partner nations to economically punish Moscow for its war on Ukraine.

Though turnover in several categories is down compared to last year, Japan’s exports of high-tech goods—computer components, medical gear and cars—is soaring.

  • Cars: up 21 percent over 2021
  • Computer components: up 340 percent
  • Medical equipment: up 804 percent

These are all products that Russia’s deeply corrupt economy cannot manufacture—at least not at reliable standards of quality and quantity. So it is a precious lifeline the Japanese are throwing to the Russians with these exports.

Ignoring the U.S.?: Japan is delivering these goods to Russia just as America is leading an effort to try to punish Russia for its war on Ukraine with a wide range of sanctions. Japan is supposed to be a staunch U.S. ally, but this shows significant daylight between American and Japanese policy.

Meanwhile, a China thaw? At the same time that this trade data showed Japan moving closer to Russia at a pivotal time, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Bangkok. The summit marked the first between Kishida and Xi, and the first time in three years that the two nations have held any leadership-level meeting.

The hiatus in talks between the world’s second- and third-largest economies was due largely to mistrust between the two, particularly as China has grown more belligerent in the waters of the East China Sea, including in Japanese areas.

The November 17 meeting was intended mainly to dispel tensions. It ended with the release of a five-point plan saying China and Japan pledge to improve mutual trust, boost coordination on global matters, and abide by principles that make them “partners, not threats.”

China stands ready to work with Japan to keep the bilateral relationship on the right course from a strategic height, and build a China-Japan relationship fit for the new era.
—Xi Jinping

Prophecy says: Revelation 16:12 foretells of an Asian alliance, “the kings of the east,” that will emerge in the modern era. Ezekiel 38:1-2 show that Russia will be the lead nation in the bloc, with China as its main partner. Verses 5 and 6 record names showing some other Asian countries that will be part of this alliance. Two of them—Gomer and Togarmah—refer to modern Japan.

Learn more: Read our Trends article “Why the Trumpet Watches Japan’s March Toward Militarism.”