- One of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s biggest goals is normalizing relations with Russia
- Both Japan and Russia would benefit, especially economically, if a peace treaty could be signed
- While Mr. Abe’s commitment and economics favor a deal, the tricky issue of the Kuril Islands dispute is no closer to being resolved
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is a man on a mission. Ever since taking office, he has been bent on normalizing his country’s relations with Russia. Japanese industries have long wanted to tap into resource-rich Siberia, while Moscow has long been keen on attracting Japanese investment. Events in recent years have added further impetus. The stumbling block is a territorial dispute over a group of tiny islands.