Putin quashes Japanese hopes of end to island dispute
nytimes.com -- Jan 24
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Tuesday dashed Japanese hopes of a settlement any time soon to a territorial dispute that has festered since 1945, declaring after a meeting with the visiting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan that there was still much “painstaking work” ahead.

In his remarks to reporters, Mr. Putin gave no sign that Russia might accede to Tokyo’s demand that it relinquish Japanese islands seized by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II. He said that any agreement must have support from the public, which in Russia, according to a November opinion poll, is strongly opposed to returning any islands to Japan.

Mr. Abe, whose father, Shintaro Abe, spent years trying in vain to settle the territorial dispute with Russia while serving as Japan’s foreign minister, has made improving relations with Moscow a priority. But he, too, conceded on Tuesday that “resolving a problem left unresolved for over 70 years since the end of the war is not easy.”

Mr. Putin had previously raised Japanese hopes of reclaiming at least a small portion of what it calls its “Northern Territories” and what Russians refer to as the Southern Kuriles, a chain of islands off Japan’s northern prefecture of Hokkaido.

ADVERTISEMENT

But any settlement involving the surrender of territory would collide with the central pillars of Russia’s state ideology under Mr. Putin: a commitment to rebuilding Russia as a great power, ceaseless celebration of Moscow’s victory in the war, and rejection of anything that might challenge the outcome of that conflict.

Mr. Putin, who has met with Mr. Abe four times in the past six months, has spoken frequently of his desire to attract more Japanese investment, particularly to bolster the flagging economic fortunes of deprived areas of the Russian Far East.

News source: nytimes.com
Apr 25
The Diet enacted legislation Wednesday to pay ¥3.2 million in state compensation to each person who underwent forced sterilization under the nation’s now-defunct eugenics law. (Japan Times)
Apr 25
A Japanese space probe is scheduled on Thursday to film an artificial crater made on the asteroid Ryugu in an impact experiment. (NHK)
Apr 25
The Japan Sumo Association has reprimanded yokozuna grand champion Hakuho for leading an unapproved cheer during his victory interview last month. (NHK)
Apr 25
Japanese actor Ken Watanabe, 59, will star in a Japanese remake of the 1993 movie “The Fugitive,” playing the part of the doctor wrongly accused of murdering his wife. (Japan Today)
Apr 24
Japan's unprecedented 10-day holiday to celebrate Crown Prince Naruhito's enthronement is expected to give the sluggish economy at least a short-term boost. (Japan Today)
Apr 24
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko have visited the Mausoleum of Emperor Showa in western Tokyo to report his abdication on April 30. (NHK)
Apr 24
Exports of agricultural products produced in Fukushima Prefecture rose about 2 percent in fiscal 2018 to a record 217.8 tons, according to the prefectural government. (Japan Times)
Apr 24
A Tokyo-based developer of a laundry-folding robot filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday due to financial difficulties. (Japan Times)
Apr 24
A Japanese university has stopped hiring professors and teachers who light up, officials said Tuesday, as the nation steps up an anti-smoking campaign ahead of the 2020 Olympics. (Japan Today)
Apr 23
Defense lawyers for former Nissan Motor chairman Carlos Ghosn have asked a Tokyo court to grant him bail. (NHK)