By Federico Pieraccini via Strategic Culture Foundation

Relations between Japan and Russia have long been the subject of discussion within international-relations circles. The meetings between Prime Minister Abe and President Putin have been going on for years, yet the situation regarding the peace treaty between the two countries, never signed since the conclusion of the Second World War, is difficult to resolve. While the discussions appear to be about the status of the Kuril islands, they are in reality more profound, covering the role that Japan and Russia play in Asia, especially with regard to the other two regional superpowers, namely China and the United States.

Vladimir Putin and Shinzo Abe have met 25 times over five years, an average of five meetings a year, one every two-and-a-half months. Such an active relationship not only demonstrates the closeness between the two leaders but also their difficulty in trying to reach an agreement to solve…

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