Fifth, while Japan's economic expansion and other changes in the economic environment had increasingly integrated the nation into global affairs, most Japanese and their leaders had an outlook that remained parochial, which was reflected in the domestic political system:
Saito, Motohide. "Japan's 'Northward' Froeign Policy." In Japan's Foreign Policy After the Cold War, Gerald L. Curtis (ed.) 274-302. New York: M.E. Sharpe, 1993.
Relations between the Soviets and Japan were never normalized after World War II, and relations have not been normalized with the Russia that has emerged since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The dispute over the northern territories has not always been the central issue, but it remains a major emotional issue for the Japanese people.
Second, the geographic contiguity of Japan to a militarily assertive Soviet Union and the alliance with the United States put pressure on Japan to become once more a major military power. Other forces pressing in this same direction included Japan's own economic and technological strengths. Military links between Japan and the United States increased and were directed largely at supplementing some U.S. security roles in East Asia.
For much of the world the Cold War is now largely a memory. But the issue of the northern territories, a remnant of the tensions that once existed, remains caught in the Moscow-Tokyo ties. Questions of territory are often considered sacrosanct matters evoking patriotic and propriety emotions. Resolving the problem will require not only strong determination but also a diplomacy inspired by the art of possibility (Saito 298).
Japan over the same period when the Soviet Union was in decline has become a stronger world power. Indeed, Japan has demonstrated since the end of the war a drive for increased economic development, which has taken place against a background of a relative decline in U.S. economic and military power. Japan has become the world's second lar