Current Institutional Affiliation
Editor, International Opinion, The New York Times Global

Award Information

Abe Fellowship for Journalists 2008
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Deputy Managing Editor, Foreign Affairs
Push and Pull, Twist and Shout: Energy Relations Between Japan, China, and Russia

The point of this project is to examine the triangle of energy relations between Japan, China and Russia. Japan and China are two of the world’s three top energy consumers, and Russia is its foremost producer of oil and gas combined; they make a natural match in terms of demand and supply, all in tight geographical proximity. Former President Vladimir Putin has announced that Russia would aggressively develop the eastern vector of its energy economy in the coming years and seek closer ties with Asian states, rather than continuing to provide resources mostly to Europe. But there may be complications, such as mutual suspicion among Japan, China, and Russia stemming from historically fraught relations and some still unresolved disputes. Furthermore, just as unexpectedly high energy prices over the past years have bloated Russia’s coffers--and, some say, its geopolitical aspirations--they have given Japan and China a reason to rethink how best to manage their huge demand, perhaps with a warier eye toward their sometimes pesky neighbor. Beyond its news-value, the project has a broader analytical purpose. It proposes to examine two assumptions that pervade media coverage of such issues: the first is that large oil and gas producers use energy as a tool of leverage in their foreign policy; the second is that large energy consumers naturally compete with each other to secure supplies. Both views are often posited, like axioms, or simply taken for granted, but the reality may be far more complex.