’Unthinkable’ Russia would lose in Ukraine – ex-Japanese prime minister


Yoshiro Mori lamented that Tokyo sided with Kiev at the expense of its relationship with Moscow

It is “almost unthinkable” that Russia would lose in the Ukraine conflict, said former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, questioning the US-led push to support Kiev, which Tokyo has joined.

“Is it good to put so much effort into Ukraine?” asked the former official, as quoted by Japanese media. “It is almost inconceivable that Russia will lose,” he said Wednesday at a meeting in Tokyo of the Japan-India Association, which he used to chair.

The 85-year-old politician said he did not understand why Tokyo was then prepared to break off relations with Moscow “we’ve come this far.” Russia and Japan have an unresolved territorial dispute and are still technically at war with each other.

Mori was the head of the Japanese government for just over a year between 2000 and 2001. After his discharge, he was chosen to lead the organization of the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Despite criticism at home, Mori maintained a good relationship with the Russian government, thanks in part to a family connection. His father, who was the mayor of a small Japanese town, had a passion for preserving the graves of Japanese soldiers in the Soviet Union. He found lifelong friends who shared the same respect for the war victims across the border, even requesting that some of his ashes be buried in Russia.

The younger Mori reportedly had good chemistry with Russian President Vladimir Putin and was even tipped by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration to lay the groundwork for his 2017 state visit to Russia.

In November, Mori slammed the Japanese media for what he considers one-sided coverage of the conflict in Ukraine, relying solely on US and European sources. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky was not criticized for anything, he noted, although he “made many Ukrainian people suffer.”

Incumbent Prime Minister Fumio Kishida criticized Russia during a keynote speech to Japan’s parliament on Monday. While he stated that his government would maintain “his policy of resolving the territorial question” regarding the disputed Kuril Islands, he also accused Moscow of it “shake the foundations of the international order” by launching the military operation in Ukraine. Kishida vowed to rebuke his government’s continued support of Kiev by Russia.

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