This article begins by showing that Japan was central to Iosif Stalin's postwar policy in Northeast Asia. The article then examines how the emphasis on Japan led to actions in and with North Korea (and China), first to try to block and then to try to compensate for the separate peace and military alliance between the United States and Japan. The penultimate section recounts meetings between Stalin and leaders of the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) in the spring and summer of 1951. The article concludes by explaining how Stalin's meetings with the JCP fit into his policies in Northeast Asia as they evolved largely in step with U.S.-Soviet relations.

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