Japan gets coal, gas from historic rival Russia

By Fred Weir

Japan’s closest geographical neighbor, Russia, is the only country with which it never officially made peace after World War II. Until the Japan earthquake hit Friday, relations were at their lowest ebb in decades due to an ongoing territorial dispute over the Kuril Islands, which are within sight of Japan’s northern tip.

Yet Russians have responded to Japan’s disaster with a surge of goodwill and generosity that, among other things, might just make it easier to resolve that dispute once the current crisis has passed.

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