Reflections

Russia and Japan Inch Closer Toward Reconciliation

Dec 16, 2016 | 04:09 GMT
Russia and Japan Inch Closer Toward Reconciliation
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) made his long-awaited journey to Japan on Thursday for a two-day summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C). The two leaders will discuss ways to increase cooperation between their countries.
(KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)

Russia's relations with Japan have rarely been amiable, alternating mostly between hostile and chilly. Moscow harbors hard feelings over the brutal defeat it suffered at Tokyo's hands more than a century ago. Japan, meanwhile, still contests control of the Kuril Islands, which fell to Russia after World War II and now house a Russian military outfit. More than lost territory, the islands represent a vulnerable northern front for Japan, adding to Tokyo's security concerns. But on Thursday, as EU members were scurrying to keep sanctions on Russia for another six months, Moscow was trying to bury the hatchet with Tokyo -- a critical ally in the Western front against Russia -- once and for all. President Vladimir Putin made a long-awaited journey to Japan for a two-day summit with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, during which the leaders will discuss a range of projects to increase their countries' cooperation. Despite the...

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