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