Japan and Russia on Aug. 19 held a high-level meeting between officials of both countries’ foreign ministries and agreed that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Vladimir Putin will meet Sept. 5 on the fringe of the summit of the Group of 20 leaders to be held in St. Petersburg. The planned meeting will help give impetus to efforts to build a relationship of mutual trust.

The biggest issue between Japan and Russia is a dispute over the sovereignty of the Northern Territories — four islands northeast of the coast of Hokkaido that are occupied and controlled by Russia. Japan should not rush to make a move to resolve the dispute. It is a delicate issue that requires a careful approach. Japan needs patience, perseverance and a well-thought-out strategy.

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