Japanese and Russian leaders meet for bilateral discussions to advance rapprochement

Japanese and Russian leaders meet for bilateral discussions to advance rapprochement

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe travels to Vladivostok for bilateral discussions with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin today. Both leaders will

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Photo: Reuters

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe travels to Vladivostok for bilateral discussions with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin today. Both leaders will then attend the Eastern Economic Forum from September 11 to 13.

Relations between Moscow and Tokyo have tensed recently, after Russian military operations in the Kuril Islands drew Japanese criticism, as the archipelago is also claimed by Tokyo. The issue has been at the fore during talks between Japanese and Russian officials throughout the summer.

Today’s discussions seek to look beyond this dispute, though, focusing instead on foreign investment in Eastern Russia. Japan has been the only perennial attendee of Russia’s Eastern Economic Forum and PM Abe’s backing could improve Russia’s prospects during this week’s conference.

Indeed, with the UK and South Korea in attendance, Japanese support could be crucial to a multilateral investment plan in Eastern Russian manufacturing and energy, for which President Putin is aiming. Economic cooperation between Russia and Japan could also help ameliorate relations overall, increasing the likelihood of a cooling of tensions regarding the Kuril Islands dispute.

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