Ja­pan’s over­tures to Rus­sia to join its fold bound to fail

China Daily (USA) - - VIEWS - The au­thor is China Daily Tokyo bureau chief. cai­hong@chi­nadaily.com.cn

CAI HONG

Al­though Ja­pan is aligned with the United States and the two coun­tries have formed a “united front” against Rus­sia, it has not stopped Ja­panese PrimeMin­is­ter Shinzo Abe from vis­it­ing twice this year the coun­try suf­fer­ing the con­se­quences of theWest’s sanc­tions.

Abe met Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin on the side­lines of the sec­ond East­ern Eco­nomic Fo­rum in Vladi­vos­tok on Sept 2-3, which was ini­ti­ated byMoscow to at­tract for­eign in­vest­ment to help de­velop its Far East.

Be­fore leav­ing for Rus­sia, Abe handed Ja­pan’s min­is­ter of trade, in­dus­try and eco­nomic af­fairsHiroshige Seko the ad­di­tional charge of the newly-cre­ated gov­ern­ment de­part­ment han­dling Tokyo’s eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion with­Moscow. Dur­ing his visit to Rus­sia, Abe was ac­com­pa­nied by a 150-strong group of Ja­panese busi­ness­peo­ple, in­clud­ing Soft­bank founder and CEOMasayoshi Son and chair­man of Ja­panese trad­ing giant Marubeni, Teruo Asada.

Abe has sug­gested Ja­panese and Rus­sian lead­ers hold an­nual meet­ings in the hope that in­creas­ing eco­nomic as­sis­tance would promp­tMoscow to grant Tokyo con­ces­sions in the ter­ri­to­rial dis­pute. Ja­pan claims sovereignty over four Rus­sia-con­trolled is­lands north ofHokkaido, which are called the North­ern Ter­ri­to­ries in Ja­pan and South­ern Kuriles in Rus­sia. And the ter­ri­to­rial dis­pute has pre­vented the two sides from sign­ing a peace treaty.

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