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Japan's next leader must keep Russia at a distance

Continuing Suga's pragmatic approach will better serve Tokyo's interests

| Japan
Vladimir Putin speaks at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on Sept. 3: Suga's nonattendance was representative of his low-key approach to Russia.   © Reuters

Associate professor James D.J. Brown is academic program coordinator for international affairs at Temple University's Japan Campus.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's restrained attitude toward Russia marked a stark contrast with the hyperactive engagement of his predecessor, Shinzo Abe. As Suga now heads for the exit, Japan's next prime minister will have a choice of models to follow. Suga's sober approach has more to recommend it.

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