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Opinion

Japan must learn from failure of Abe's Russia policy

Putin has used potential transfer of Southern Kuril Islands to manipulate Tokyo

| Japan
Putin, left, meets Abe at Group of Twenty leaders summit in Osaka in June 2019: Moscow has pressed its advantage.   © Reuters

James D.J. Brown is associate professor of political science at Temple University, Japan Campus.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's "new approach" to relations with Russia has been an embarrassing failure -- yet it has one redeeming feature: it demonstrates beyond doubt that no amount of cozying up to Moscow will result in the return of any of the Russian-held Southern Kuril Islands, which are claimed by Japan as its Northern Territories.

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