Reflections on contemporary developments in Russo-Japanese relations
Japan’s foreign policy towards Russia features two seemingly inconsistent strands. On the one hand, as a member of the G-7, Tokyo maintains sanctions on Russia in response to its intervention in Ukraine. On the other hand, Prime Minister Abe is pursuing a “new approach” to Russia. This seeks to use closer economic ties as a catalyst for achieving a breakthrough in the countries’ longstanding territorial dispute.
This presentation explains the reasons for these contradictory policies. It also provides analysis of the most important recent developments, including President Putin’s visit to Japan in December 2016, the start of talks on joint economic activities on the disputed islands and resumption of the “2+2” discussions in March 2017, and Prime Minister Abe’s expected visit to Moscow in April 2017. The lecture concludes by assessing the future prospects of the relationship, including the chances of a peace treaty finally being signed.
James D.J. Brown is Associate Professor of Political Science at Temple University, Japan Campus. His main area of expertise is Russo-Japanese relations. His research has previously been published in academic journals such as International Politics, Politics, Asia Policy, and Post-Soviet Affairs. He is also a frequent contributor to the media, including The New York Times, The Economist, and the Nikkei. His most recent book, Japan, Russia and their Territorial Dispute, was published in March 2016. He is currently co-editing a new textbook on Japan’s foreign relations with Asia.