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WASHINGTON – Tokyo and Moscow are looking to warm relations that have been cool since the end of World War II over Russia’s occupation of Japanese islands – because both sides are looking at their current situations pragmatically, according to report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

Japan needs energy, especially natural gas, after the disaster with its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011, greatly decreasing Japan’s nuclear energy resources. As an alternative, Japanese consumption of natural gas has increased some 30 percent, and it is expected to continue to rise.

Its growing imports include not only natural gas but oil. Since Tokyo has cut its oil imports from Iran under U.S. pressure due to United Nations and U.S. unilateral sanctions, it has had to look elsewhere, and Russia becomes a potentially major supplier.

As a result, Tokyo is prepared to put aside old animosities over Russian occupation of the southern Kuril Islands since the end of the Second World War. This continued occupation also has been a major obstacle to both countries signing a peace treaty that would formally end their participation in the Second World War.

Russia’s continued occupation of the islands also has affected trade between the two, which has been small. However, there are new winds blowing.

Japan needs energy, and Russia needs to find new energy markets as Europe cuts back on its imports of Russian energy due to the region’s economic slowdown. As a consequence, Russia has been turning to Asia as a source of new markets, principally China, South Korea and Vietnam.

Exporting energy, analysts say, is the foundation of the entire Russian economy. If it declines, so does the economy and the prospect rises for increased unrest, which Russian President Vladimir Putin seeks to avoid with bold plans for civil and social reform internally.

However, it will take resources – money – and energy exports are the principal source for that.

In addition to its own energy needs, a new generation of Japanese leadership appears to be more outgoing and seeks to rejuvenate its own economy generally in addition to looking for new energy sources internationally.

For these reasons, Tokyo and Moscow have increased the frequency of official visits and now are entering into trade and energy agreements. Tokyo also is interested in helping the Russians develop their own energy sector with the import of needed technologies which Moscow can use.

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