|New Bonds Are Being Forged|
Known as the Southern Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan, the islands have prevented the two sides from fully putting the conflict behind them. The summit is the latest attempt to reach an agreement since Japan and the former Soviet Union began discussions in 1956. Putin, who is accomplished in the Japanese martial art of judo, has said he sees the lack of a peace treaty as an "anachronism" and wants to resolve the issue. Abe has looked to win concessions by dangling the prospect of major Japanese investment in front of Moscow, which is mired in economic crisis amid falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Crimea and Ukraine.
The two leaders discussed working together on the economic development of the islands and ways to make it easier for Japanese former residents, whose average age is 81 to visit Japan. The two leaders called for experts to find ways to achieve joint exploitation of the territory, citing "fishing, tourism, culture, and medicine". Ironically, this is all taking place as America's leadership is actively engaged in vilifying Putin and raging against Russia and the new President elects views towards normalizing the relationship between the two nations.