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In its island dispute with Russia, Japan dangles economic carrots

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia, on May 6.   © Kyodo

TOKYO   Japan and Russia have agreed to seek a "new approach" to settling a territorial row that has precluded a World War II peace treaty between them. Tokyo hopes to parlay economic cooperation into progress on the dispute.

At a summit in the Russian city of Sochi on May 6, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe laid out an eight-point proposal for economic collaboration. How the plan is implemented "will depend on how Russia moves on the territorial issue," a high-level Japanese official said the next day.

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