The Japan-Russia Forum, an arena for intellectual dialogue between Japan and Russia, recently met for the first time in 2 1/2 years.

This forum was originally launched for highly political reasons. The Northern Territories issue continues to cast a shadow over Japan-Russia relations, preventing the two countries from building a relationship of trust. It was thought, therefore, that opinion leaders from both countries should gather together to exchange opinions frankly and openly, in the hope that, as the mutual mistrust surrounding the Northern Territories issue gradually dissipated, participants might be able to assist in achieving a resolution to this issue and a breakthrough in Japan-Russia relations.

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