Focusing mostly on the territorial dispute over the “Northern Territories” this chapter explores the relationship between public preferences and policymaking in Japan’s relations with the USSR and Russia. The chapter is divided into four sections. The introductory section provides a brief overview of the history of the territorial dispute and related negotiations between Japan and the USSR/Russia. The second section explores the dynamics in the Japanese public opinion related to the dispute, the factors that shaped it, and its relationship with state policy. The third section examines the role of the dispute in other areas of bilateral relations. The concluding section summarizes the arguments made in this chapter and offers some observations regarding the factors that explain the relationship between public opinion and policymaking in the case of the Northern Territories dispute. The main argument of this chapter is that public preferences played a rather limited role in shaping Japan’s Northern Territories–related policy. This can be attributed to a number of factors, including the relatively small size of the issue public, voting behavior, the centrality of bureaucracy in policymaking, and the minimal impact of the territorial dispute on other areas of bilateral relations.