MOSCOW, January 27. /TASS/. Tokyo is heading for a prolonged confrontation with Moscow, as newly-introduced sanctions shift tensions into high gear, but the chances they may succeed to any significant extent look bleak, the head of the Department of Oriental Studies at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations MGIMO under the Russian Foreign Ministry, Dmitry Streltsov, told TASS on Friday.
The newly-introduced Japanese restrictions that took effect on Friday to prohibit the export of radioactive materials, vaccines and medical products, as well as robots, "will not have a big impact," he said.
"They are one of the milestones of the 'sanctions war' between the two countries. In fact, we are in a situation of long-term confrontation, with Japan using such sanctions to step up pressure," the expert noted. "As for the real effect of these restrictions, it is true that they may be somewhat unpleasant for Russia, since they apply to high-tech products. This segment is one of Japan’s strengths, as it is one of the world leaders here, but still, I think that these sanctions will not have a dramatic effect on the Russian economy."
Streltsov explained that Russia was likely to find alternative providers of certain items, for example, India or China. "It depends on a specific type of equipment," he added.
Political relations, he went on to say, "are at their lowest point ever during the post-war period, since their restoration in 1956."
Streltsov did not rule out that diplomatic relations might be downgraded further, but at the same time recalled that even in the "worst period of the Cold War it did not come to recalling ambassadors." He also sees "certain grounds for optimism," such as the statistics of bilateral trade, which showed no decline over the previous year and even grew somewhat "in value terms."
"In other words, there are certain opportunities," he continued. "Some exchanges at a grassroots level continue. Bilateral tourism is in progress. I hope that our relations will not fall into some kind of abyss and that some kind of balance will be found.".