Russian and Japanese top diplomats to meet for talks on formal peace treaty

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi will meet with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, today to discuss the two states’ territorial

russia japan foreign minister

Photo: Reuters

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi will meet with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, today to discuss the two states’ territorial disputes over islands seized from Japan by the Soviet Union in 1945.

Russia has made clear it intends to officially end World War II hostilities via a peace treaty, paving the way for an official economic relationship.

Expect the treaty to formally establish what both Putin and Abe have been referring to as a “joint rule proposal.” The proposal will be vague in ironing out how joint rule over the islands will look logistically. Though the disputed islands are home to few inhabitants, they have been the primary inhibitors to normalised relations between Japan and Russia, making an opaque two-state rule over the territories the preferential approach.

Once joint rule is established, expect two key outcomes: an increase in bilateral economic cooperation and a sharp decrease in military presence on the islands—Moscow will likely withdraw many of its missile systems deployed on the islands. Expect travel between the two states to increase as well as economic treaties down the road upon the finalising of today’s treaty.

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