Peace between Russia and Japan?

A map of the disputed islands, which lie at the southernmost end of the Kuril chain between Japan and Russia
The dispute concerns three islands and a group of small islets that were taken over by Russia during World War II (source: macpixxel for GIS)
  • 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.

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