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NATO Values Japan’s Partnership as Russia’s Unjust War in Ukraine Continues

Courtesy of Danish Embassy in Japan
Peter Taksoe-Jensen, Ambassador of Denmark in Japan

As Friday marks one year since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Danish Ambassador to Japan Peter Taksoe-Jensen contributed an article to The Yomiuri Shimbun on behalf of the ambassadors of the NATO member states in Japan as well as the ambassadors of Sweden and Finland, which have applied for NATO membership. The Danish Embassy is now serving as the official NATO contact point in Japan.

One year ago on this day, on Feb. 24, 2022, Russia launched a full-scale, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, violating Ukraine’s territorial integrity and the Charter of the United Nations. Russian aggression against Ukraine continues, shattering peace and shaking the foundation of the rules-based international order. Russia’s war crimes in Ukraine are manifold, including the targeting of civilians, the shelling civilian infrastructures, the deportation of children, torture and sexual assault. Those responsible will be held accountable.

NATO is not part of the conflict, but the conflict has a profound impact on Euro-Atlantic security and beyond. NATO is a defensive and regional alliance, providing peace and security to close to 1 billion citizens in the Euro-Atlantic area. For more than 70 years, NATO has been safeguarding freedom and democracy and promoting a world that respects sovereignty, territorial integrity, human rights and international law. Transatlantic and Indo-Pacific security are deeply interconnected as they both rest on the international rules-based order. NATO’s new strategic concept acknowledges that developments occurring in the Indo-Pacific region can directly affect Euro-Atlantic security. In this context, we share with Japan the fundamental view that unilateral change to the status quo by force or coercion is not acceptable. We will not accept a world where a country cannot freely choose its own path, and can be bullied or forced into submission by powerful neighbors.

Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine is unprovoked, unjustifiable and unacceptable. NATO will continue its unwavering support for and solidarity with Ukraine, while NATO member countries maintain their comprehensive military support. We, the ambassadors of NATO member countries in Japan, applaud the Japanese government and the people of Japan for the unprecedented support they are showing for Ukraine. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated on his recent visit to Japan, “No NATO partner is closer or more capable than Japan.” Representing the member countries of NATO in Japan, we know firsthand that this is in fact true.

Japan’s immediate support for Ukraine is remarkable and truly valued. We will continue to encourage the rest of the global community to do likewise. We look forward to working with Japan on our continued assistance to Ukraine. It is crucial that any peace settlement not come at the expense of freedom and democracy – a peace is not a peace unless it is just and sustainable.

At a time of complex challenges arising in the Euro-Atlantic as well as in the Indo-Pacific, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s words that “Ukraine today may be East Asia tomorrow” highlight the global consequences that would stem from tolerating a war of aggression. Looking ahead, NATO will continue to strengthen its cooperation with Japan through the coming comprehensive partnership program expected to be adopted before the NATO Summit in Vilnius this year. We also count on Japan to use its platforms as this year’s G7 president and as a current nonpermanent member of the U.N. Security Council to protect and preserve our shared values at a time when the global security environment is undergoing significant changes.