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International relations

After Ukraine, Japan reverts to old line on Russian-controlled islands

Shinzo Abe's nuanced language gone as outlook for negotiations dims

Kunashiri, called Kunashir in Russia, is one of the islands that has stood in the way of a peace treaty between Japan and Russia for decades.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Russia's invasion of Ukraine has produced a noticeable shift in Japan's diplomatic effort to reclaim Russian-controlled islands lost in the waning days of World War II.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's government has reverted to long-standing basic principles on the Northern Territories, dropping the nuanced language used by predecessor Shinzo Abe, who had tried to speed up negotiations on a diplomatic solution with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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