The year is AD 2072.
The world has changed.
Two more world wars and the myriad unexplained alterations to the world have resulted in a subtly different global map…
In 2035, spaceflight became a restricted enterprise – while the various celestial bodies remain visible, and astronomers can detect no obvious reason that spaceflight should not be possible, it remains a fact that in the 5 years prior to the global moratorium on extraterrestrial travel, not a single launch that passed beyond near-earth orbit was without incident. Some flights seemed to blow up, some imploded, some passed through and began re-entry only to burn up in the atmosphere. Most simply vanished, from radar, radio connection, visible observation, and (in one case) direct psychic connection, without a trace, or any indication as to how or why. 2032-2035 encompassed World War 3, which only primarily involved countries with or developing space programs. WWIII was nuclear, and caused a number of the changes to the map as a result of nuclear blasts. It was only with the development of Japanese nanites, which were capable of both destroying nuclear weapons (both before and after deployment) and rapidly containing and cleaning fallout, that the war was rapidly concluded. Japan, of course, had no nuclear weapons itself and had not engaged the JSDF in anything except defensive action, and was therefore able to present itself as a neutral party to arbitrate the conclusion of the war. Following the cessation of hostilities, many countries sought to buy or obtain the nanites for use on their own irradiated soil; Japanese companies refused outright sale of the devices, preferring to retain control of the machines and leasing them out with cleansing teams. This saw the economic rise of Japan at the expense of much of the rest of Asia, Pan-Africa, and the EU. Since the United States was only attacked once by ICBM (only to have the existence of their rumored missile shield confirmed) and foiled several attempts to deploy so-called “suitcase-nukes” inside their borders, they were less financially affected by the Japanese development.
The most recent World War, WWIV, was not so sparsely participated in. Now known to be started by multi-national Terrorists opposed to official recognition of non-human sentient species, at the time the war seemed to be started over the most ancient of reasons: land. The largest coalition in the war was that of the former “NATO” nations, striving to maintain their supremacy role as international peacekeepers. The initial hostilities were sparked between Russia, China, and India, seemingly over development rights to eastern Siberia and the Siam peninsula. Shortly thereafter, in an attempt to insert themselves as a peacekeeping force, the NATO nations deployed a minor military presence in both locations, under the flag of the UN. Shortly after this predictable development, several attacks were launched against both the NATO nations themselves and the original three countries; many of these attacks were assembled in such a way as to implicate non-human sentients, with the rest framing one of the initial three aggressors in the conflict. Several activist statements denouncing the NATO coalition for hiding behind the UN flag to protect their “special interests” in the regions also served to inflame and confuse the issues. Military standings on all sides escalated following these attacks, as all-out non-nuclear war covered the globe, with unprovoked attacks drawing more and more nations into the fray. After 3 years of fighting, every side was experiencing a slow-down in their production as a result of attrition, and an international “Mexican Standoff” resulted. During this time there was no official cease-fire or suspension of hostilities, but it was during this period of limited conflict that the extra-governmental efforts of several private organizations provided World Leaders with the evidence that the war was the result of a massive campaign of deception and terrorism on the parts of other private groups who opposed and hated non-humans. The resulting events brought the war to a rapid conclusion and saw the rise of global superpowers such as the American Empire (covering North and South America), the Indian Coalition (formed out of the union of the peoples of the Indian Subcontinent, Persia, and Asia Minor), and the solidification of existing superpowers such as Pan-Africa and the European Union. Nevertheless, the increase in independent states and sovereign regions grew during the lingering chaos that lasted another 10 years. The planet remains divided and several locations exist on the planet where sovereignty is in question, where no one is really sure who owns or governs what.
One such region is Eastern Siberia, which prior to WWIV was unequivocally owned by the Russian Federation. During the war, enough foreign troops found themselves attacking or defending Eastern Siberia that at the formal conclusion of the war, the Russian Federation was an owner in title only. They were only too happy to sell title to the territory to the expansionist Japanese government. Shortly after the deal took place, the region experienced a number of revolutionary factions opposed to leaving their homes but also against becoming Japanese citizens. Some favored the creation of their own state; some wanted to remain part of the Russian Federation. Some more radical groups were in favor of a return to the so-called glory days under the USSR, while other groups attempted to lure China into making a bid for territorial control. With 80% of the population agreeable to either leaving or becoming citizens, the international community recognized the legitimacy of the land transfer and acknowledged the propriety of having the Japanese military deal with the schism groups as a matter internal to Imperial Japan.