In a little reported event on Sunday, the Russian and new Japanese governments have agreed to sign a peace treaty ending the last vestige of World War II.
Japan agreed to the peace treaty with no strings attached - a significant departure from previous negotiations. The fact that the issue of the South Kuril islands will not be linked to the treaty may stir up some political trouble in Japan; but, it seems that Japan is pushing the issue to back burner in order to concentrate on its economic position with China and re-entering South East Asia. Russia may also want to resolve any remaining issues with Japan precisely because Japan would be a counter to China. Russia is not particularly formidable in its eastern regions and a settlement with Japan would allow Russia to concentrate its efforts in the west.