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    President Donald Trump welcomes Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe outside the West Wing of the White House

    Moscow's Ties With Washington, Tokyo 'On the Path to Notable Improvement'

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    Agreements reached by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, as well as statements made by United States President Donald Trump on Moscow suggest that the Kremlin's relations with Washington and Tokyo are slated to considerably improve, Japanese analysts told Sputnik.

    Professor Nobuo Shimotomai, an expert on Russia and CIS politics at Hosei University, said that there appears to be an opportunity to mend Russia's relations with the United States and Japan.

    "President Trump has said that he will revise Washington's relations with Moscow. Surely, Europe and the United States have taken a cautious attitude to Russia, but the country's relations with the US and Japan are moving toward a notable improvement," he said. "It has become increasingly likely that a turn in Putin's relations with Abe which took place last year will open the way for a new relationship, involving the US, Japan and Russia." 

    Professor Nobuo Shimotomai mentioned that there are numerous unresolved issues, but added that Russia appears to be "moving out of isolation."

    President Trump has repeatedly stated that he wanted his administration to build good relations with Moscow. Bilateral ties were damaged while Barack Obama was in office, with the 2014 coup in Kiev, the subsequent Ukrainian civil war, Crimea's democratic reunification with Russia and the Syrian conflict serving as major points of contention.

    Trump and Putin have had two telephone conversations, with the second one lasting approximately an hour. The White House described Trump's latest call as "a significant start to improving the relationship between the United States and Russia that is in need of repair," adding that both presidents were hopeful that the two sides "can move quickly" to tackle terrorism and other important issues of mutual concern.

    Professor Toshihiko Ueno, a political analyst at Tokyo-based Sophia University, also suggested that the three countries could cultivate cordial relations.

    "Unlike Obama, President Trump has adopted a pragmatic approach to Washington's relations with Moscow. They are likely to improve," he said. This is why "it has become easier for Abe to engage in dialogue with Russia. This could have a positive effect on economic cooperation between the two countries and joint economic activities in the Northern Territories."

    Professor Toshihiko Ueno was referring to the recent agreement between Russia and Japan which entails joint activities on the contested islands, which Moscow calls the Kurils and Tokyo refers to as the Northern Territories. The deal was reached during the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Japan on December 15-16, 2016.

    Russia and Japan have been locked in a dispute over the Kuril Islands since the end of World War II.

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    foreign policy, relations, Vladimir Putin, Shinzo Abe, Donald Trump, Japan, United States, Russia
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