Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will go on an official visit to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a bid to improve the ties between the two countries, which has suffered a prolonged chill due to a territorial dispute dating back to the Second World War. Abe’s visit, scheduled on April 28-30, looks to be aimed at giving bilateral ties a shot in the arm, with both parties hoping to discuss a whole gamut of trade agreements and technological exchanges all in the name bilateral cooperation.
Trade agreements will be on top of the list, with Japan eager to find cheaper supplies of natural gas for power generation – something that Russia has an abundance of. Russia is also on the lookout for a boost to its developing economy – its industries should be greatly improved by the technology and know-how that Japan and its industries can provide. Foreign policy issues will also be on the agenda, foremost of these will be the situation in the Korean peninsula and North Korea’s warlike attitude in the past few months, all troubling to both Moscow and Tokyo. A group of business leaders will be accompanying Abe’s delegation, hoping to talk and open communications with their counterparts in Moscow.
Japan and Russia are connected by the North Pacific Ocean, the area that also contains the thorn on the side of better relations between both countries. Both governments have expressed a desire to expand relations – particularly in trade – over the years, but any sort of progress seems to always trip up on the dispute over the Kuril Islands, also called the Northern Territories by the Japanese. A ray of light in this situation is Abe’s declared intention in February to find a “mutually acceptable solution” over the territorial dispute, the Japanese premier showing a more conciliatory attitude than his predecessors. It is because of this dispute that the two nations have never formally signed a peace treaty even after WWII. Currently, Japan maintains its claim over the four southernmost islands of the chain, all of which are administered and controlled by Russia.
[via Yahoo News]
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