Japan–Russia relations need more than just energy

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in Sochi, Russia. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Anthony V. Rinna, Sino-NK

On 16 May 2016 Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Envoy to the Far Eastern district, Yury Trutnev, met with officials from Japanese and Russian energy and metallurgical companies. The meeting followed a summit between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss enhancing bilateral ties.

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Can Obama kickstart Asia-Pacific reconciliation?

US Secretary of State John Kerry puts his arm around Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida after they and fellow G7 foreign ministers laid wreaths at the cenotaph at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, western Japan, 11 April 2016. US President Barack Obama will travel to Hiroshima in May 2016 in the first visit by a sitting American president to the site where the US dropped an atomic bomb. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Christian Wirth, Tohoku University

At the end of this month President Obama will become the first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima. The momentous visit is planned around Obama’s trip to nearby Ise-Shima for the G7 Summit. Read more…

G7 summit plays into Japan’s constitutional politics

apanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) visits Ise Grand Shrine to preview in Ise, Mie Prefecture on May 25, 2016, one day ahead of the Group of Seven (G7) Summit meeting. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Ernils Larsson, Uppsala University

When the leaders of G7 countries descend on Japan later this week, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has taken the opportunity to invite them to visit Ise Shrine as well. Although there were many reasons for the choice of Ise-Shima as location for the summit, it is impossible to ignore the underlying sentiments of religious nationalism.

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Obama and the absence of apology in Hiroshima

US President Barack Obama speaks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during their meeting at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Tessa Morris-Suzuki, ANU

‘As President of the United States of America, I express my profound apologies for the sufferings inflicted on the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the atomic bombings’. These, of course, are the words that we are not going to hear Barack Obama speak in Hiroshima on 27 May Read more…

Talks on Russo–Japanese territorial disputes still going nowhere


Author: Dmitry Streltsov, MGIMO

On 6 May, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met in Sochi in a bid strengthen trust between the two leaders. Russia and Japan still view each other from the standpoint of the Cold War: for Russia, Japan is first of all the ‘junior partner’ of the United States and a location for US military bases; for Japan, Russia is a permanent source of instability that is unwilling to return its native territories. Read more…

What happened to Russia’s ‘pivot to Asia’?

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (L) and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi attend a joint press conference at the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing, China on 29 April 2016.

Authors: Dmitry Filippov, University of Sheffield and Peter Marino

In early 2014, Russia faced economic sanctions in response to its annexation of Crimea. Many in the country viewed the sanctions as proof that the West has contempt for Russia’s ‘sphere of influence’ in Ukraine and was trying to subvert Russian foreign policy. Responding to this pressure from the West, Moscow turned its attention to the East — specifically, to China.

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Japan courts Russia at Sochi summit

Russian President Vladimir Putin greets Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe prior to their talks in Sochi, Russia, 6 May 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: James D. J. Brown, Temple University, and Andrei I. Kozinets, Far Eastern Federal University

The two most prominent features of Japanese foreign policy are caution and the US alliance. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s decision to travel to Sochi for a summit with President Vladimir Putin on 6 May was therefore remarkable. Read more…