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Japan's island disputes show malaise: Analysts

Published on Aug 20, 2012 12:19 PM

TOKYO (AFP) - Tokyo's seeming fixation with squabbles over the outposts of its former empire are symptomatic of a foreign policy drift as Japan struggles to find its place in the 21st century, analysts say.

In a little over a month, three long-running territorial disputes have flared up.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev inflicted the first wound in early July with a visit to the Kurils, off the coast of Hokkaido, seized by the Soviet Union in the last days of World War II.

"I do not care," Mr Medvedev told reporters when asked what he thought about Tokyo's "extreme regret" over his trip to what Japan calls the Northern Territories.

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