This chapter evaluates the reasons for the unresolved territorial problem and peace treaty of Russia and Japan. Japan and the Soviet Union/Russia have rarely seen each other as a high foreign-policy priority. Both lack comprehensive, long-term strategies and policies toward each other. Japan's Russia policy and Russia's Japan policy lack consistency, and the position and importance of the territorial issue vary within that policy. The Soviet Union has unilaterally violated the Japanese–Soviet Neutrality Pact, and Soviet troops occupied the four Northern Islands after Japan accepted the Potsdam Declaration. In the sixty years since the end of World War Two, the people of Japan have succeeded in restoring almost everything to their satisfaction, but at least one aspect of overcoming the past has eluded them: the complete normalization of relations with their neighbor, Russia.
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