Resolving the Russo-Japanese Territorial Dispute: Hokkaido-Sakhalin Relations

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The unresolved territorial dispute between Japan and Russia over the Northern Territories/South Kuril Islands remains the largest obstacle to concluding a peace treaty and fully normalising bilateral relations between the two nations. The book traces the evolution of transnational relations between subnational public authorities in Hokkaido and Sakhalin, examining the relationship between these ties and the Russo-Japanese territorial dispute.

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

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Brad Williams is a visiting fellow in the Department of Political Science, National University of Singapore. He is the co-editor of Japan, Australia and Asia-Pacific Security (Routledge, 2006).

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements     xii
Note on transliteration     xiv
Glossary and abbreviations     xv
Introduction: Subnational governments as international actors     1
Tokyo, Moscow and the disputed islands     20
Determinants of Russian and Japanese subnational diplomacy and the rise of the 'Sakhalin factor'     53
Hokkaido-Sakhalin transnational relations     74
The Sakhalin political elite and the South Kuril Islands     101
Sakhalin public opinion and the South Kuril Islands     130
Sakhalin's commercial environment and local trade     145
Conclusion: Yeltsin, Putin and the 'Sakhalin factor'     167
Notes     178
Hokkaido-Sakhalin sister-city agreements     193
Bibliography     194
Index     217
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