25 May 2016 at 0:58 GMT
Nikkei Asian Review
To break the impasse surrounding a territorial dispute – which has prevented Japan and Russia from signing a formal peace treaty – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has decided on a drastic change of tack. This is an about-face from Japan's traditional strategy for dealing with the issue, which has been to make resolving the territorial dispute a prerequisite for expanding bilateral relations. Abe's decision to adopt this new strategy is down largely to China's increasingly assertive behavior, which is posing a growing security threat to Japan. Abe has decided that patching up relations with Russia is crucial for Japan to effectively respond to China's muscle-flexing.
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