In August 2021, Russia is said to have planned a military conflict with Japan. This is reported by a whistleblower from the Russian Federal Security Service in a secret letter. In view of the Kuril dispute, Russia had an “insane will to war”. But then the country attacked Ukraine.

Before Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his full-scale invasion of Ukraine, he reportedly planned an attack on Japan. This emerges from the letter from a Russian whistleblower from the Federal Security Service (FSB). The letter is contained in an email obtained by the US news site Newsweek. The site first reported on Russia’s alleged planned attack on Japan.

In August 2021, Russia was “preparing very seriously for a local military conflict with Japan,” the whistleblower said in an email to Russian human rights activist Vladimir Osechkin in March this year. The agent is dubbed the “Wind of Change,” after a non-profit organization based in Washington. The FSB agent is still revealing secrets from the circles of the Russian secret service, but is currently reporting a lot to Osechkin about the war of aggression in Ukraine and the precarious situation in the Kremlin. When “Wind of Change” reported on Russia’s plans for Japan in March, he already suspected at that point that Russia would invade Ukraine instead.

The agent Osechkin, who lives in exile in France, is said to have repeatedly sent FSB information. The letter was verified by an American analyst, who showed the mail to FSB agents, who “had no doubt that it was written by a colleague.” They also confirm: “The confidence that Russia and Japan would enter the stage of acute confrontation and even war was high.” The Russian and Japanese foreign ministries have not yet commented on the whistleblower’s report.

In the letter, the whistleblower describes in detail the movements of military helicopters for the electronic attack at the time. At the same time, Russian propagandists increasingly referred to Japanese as “Nazis and fascists”. Terms also used for the propaganda machine against Ukraine.

De jure, Japan and Russia are still at war with each other, as the territorial dispute over the southernmost islands of the Kuril archipelago has never been settled. The islands have been administered by the Soviet Union since the end of World War II and by Russia since 1991, but are also claimed by Japan.

They are an “important stumbling block” between Russia and Japan, writes the whistleblower. The islands lie between the large Japanese island of Hokkaido and the Russian peninsula of Kamchatka and are therefore of great military and political importance. According to the informant, the islands are a “means of pressure” for Moscow, and for Japan the abandonment of the islands would “mean a revision of its post-war status,” it said. A peace treaty between the two countries was never signed.

In August 2021, the FSB released information about how Soviet citizens were tortured by Japanese special services during World War II. The FSB whistleblower writes that the service was tasked with launching an “information campaign against Japan into society”. That happened quickly, he continues. In mid-August, the Russian media “literally exploded at the same time”. The propaganda channel RT also reported that the Japanese allegedly carried out biological experiments on Soviet prisoners. Another outlet close to the Kremlin headlined: “How the USSR saved the world from the biological warfare that Japan was preparing”.

Igor Sushko, executive director of the US organization Wind of Change, confirmed that the FSB was also releasing previously classified material at this time showing that Japan was planning to use a bacteriological bomb in 1944. “It was secret all along and then it was released when this whole build up against Japan was going on and the Russian people were being primed to believe that Japanese are fascists,” he told Newsweek. The Russian leadership had an “insane will to war”, the whistleblower sums up. However, this will was then carried out on the back of Ukraine. On February 24, Russian troops invaded the neighboring country. “They sort of exchanged Japan for Ukraine,” Sushko said.

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