Japan’s expanded diplomatic overtures can be explained in two main ways. First, they could be seen as a means of balancing against China. If true, this would effectively be a form of unwitting indirect assistance to Russia, whose own traditional hegemony in Eurasia is being seriously challenged by China’s growing trade ties and economic presence in the region. Alternatively, Japan might simply prefer to see a little more diversity of interest in Central Asia, with itself, India, and the United States competing for influence with the dominant Russia-China rivalry.
Map of Central Asia