Kunashir Island, one of the four islands disputed by Japan and Russia

Maps: What are the Northern Territories?

The Northern Territories (part of an island chain called the Kuril Islands in Russian) are a set of four islands off the northeastern coast of Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost prefecture. Originally inhabited by the indigenous Ainu, they were later used by Japanese, Russians, and Americans as bases for fishing and whaling. Japanese administration over the four […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida in St. Petersburg, Russia, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. Putin is to travel to Japan later this month to meet the Japanese prime minister and discuss a territorial dispute over the southern Kuril islands which keeps the two countries from signing a peace treaty formally ending their World War II hostilities. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, pool)

The Hot Spring Summit, Part 1: The Treacherous Ground of Territorial Negotiations

This is the first in a two-part series: On December 15, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will welcome Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Otanisanso onsen (hot spring) resort in Nagato, Yamaguchi Prefecture, for a face-to-face meeting. The Northern Territories, comprising the islands of Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan, and the Habomai islands, are integral parts of Japan. […]

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The Hot Spring Summit, Part 2: “I Will Not Leave this to the Next Generation”

This is the second in a two-part series. You can read part one here On January 19, 1960, four years after the Japan-Soviet Joint Declaration, Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi was visiting the White House and signed an amended version of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, strengthening the U.S.-Japan alliance and putting the relationship between the two […]

abeputin2meeting-in-vladivostok-russia-friday-sept-2-2016-kyodo

Abe & Putin: Why There Won’t Be a Breakthrough on Territory

On May 6, 2016, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe emerged from a meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia, to tell the waiting press, “I have a sense that we are moving towards a breakthrough in the stalled peace treaty negotiations.” He continued by unveiling a “new approach” to bilateral relations, consisting of enhanced economic […]

Russia Putin

Putin Is No Strongman: He’s Leading Russia into Ruin

It’s no surprise that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to make nice with Vladimir Putin later this week. The Russian president sure does look like a winner these days. Of course, there’s the obvious: In just two months, the United States—Moscow’s main competitor on the world stage—will be led by an incompetent demagogue whose […]

2016 AP YEAR END PHOTOS - A couple kisses in front of graffiti depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, on the walls of a bar in the old town in Vilnius, Lithuania, on May 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis, File)

There’s Plenty of Reason to Be Afraid of President Trump

Donald Trump has the potential to represent a complete break with U.S. foreign policy since the end of World War II (and many other things), not least regarding the U.S. relationship with Japan. In abstract, such a break could be useful or even welcome—there are many aspects of the alliance that deserve reevaluation, including the […]

2016 AP YEAR END PHOTOS - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump turns to the American flag at a campaign rally in Sterling Heights, Mich., on Nov. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

Editorial: Who’s Afraid of President Trump?

At long last, the day of surprise has arrived.   The combined xenophobic and anti-globalist surge that began with the large-scale influx of Syrian refugees and proceeded to sweep across Europe eventually led the United Kingdom to decide to leave the European Union. Now, it has scored a direct hit on the American establishment.   […]

A worker adjusts the U.S. flag before Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addresses media following a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 17, 2016.  REUTERS/Andrew Kelly      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Abe and Trump Get Acquainted: A Read-out of their First Phone Call

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called Donald Trump, the Republican winner of the U.S. presidential election, the day after his victory, at which time they agreed to meet in New York as Prime Minister Abe traveled to Lima, Peru for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. This was the first time a prime minister has met […]

Mr. David Sneddon disappeared in August 2004, while hiking in the Tiger Leaping Gorge in China’s Yunnan Province.

U.S. Japan Cooperation Expected on Passage of Congressional Resolution on David Sneddon Disappearance

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution at the end of September directing the U.S. government to investigate the disappearance of a young American who is suspected to be a victim of North Korean abduction. This Congressional action is expected to lead to a new vigorous inquiry into Pyongyang’s criminal abduction of foreigners and […]

Shiokaze's Mr.Tatsuru Murao,center,at work during the interview withfamily members of missing Japanese citizens in Aug 31,2016 at Nagatocity,Yamaguchi.

Seeking a resolution through information influx into North Korea-The battle of the Shiokaze radio broadcasts

“We aim for the liberation of all abductees, and of all North Korean citizens suffering under a dictatorial regime.” There is a radio broadcast known as Shiokaze, or sea breeze. Shiokaze’s target listeners are abductees in North Korea, as well as average North Korean citizens. In North Korea, information from outside the country is restricted […]

Takuya Yokota

International pressure is the name of the “weapon” they seek…Why do the families of Japanese victims of North Korean abduction go overseas?

On May 5th, 2015, a symposium hosted by the Japanese government was held at a hotel not far from the United Nations headquarters in New York. At the symposium, a Japanese man presented a speech to an audience that included members of the UN and various world governments. Virtually all of the international community was […]