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The book investigates why the development of Hokkaido-Sakhalin relations failed to create, at the subnational level, an environment conducive to resolving (kankyo seibi) the Northern Territories/South Kuril Islands dispute during the 1990s. Brad Williams suggests that kankyo seibi did not work primarily because Russia's troubled transition to a liberal democratic market economy manifested itself in ways that ultimately increased the South Kuril Islands' intrinsic and instrumental value for the Sakhalin public and regional elite. This in turn had limited the impact from the twin transnational processes of cultural and economic exchange in alleviating opposition to the transferral of these disputed islands to Japan.
Drawing upon a wealth of primary and secondary sources from both countries, this book utilises levels of analysis and an analytical framework that incorporates national and subnational, as well as governmental and non-governmental forces to discuss a relatively unexplored aspect of Russo-Japanese relations. As such, Resolving the Russo-Japanese Territorial Dispute will appeal to students and scholars of Asian politics, international relations and post-communist states.
About the Author:
Brad Williams is a visitingfellow in the Department of Political Science, National University of Singapore