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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

“Russia can offer a new solution to the dispute over the Kuril Islands”

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his intention to solve the territorial issue and make efforts to conclude a peace Treaty with Russia. Beneficial for both countries to settle the territorial issue – so why is this not happening for so many years? It appears that the deadlock still exists, though not like what it sees Japan.

The issue of Japan’s territorial claims to our country are well known to describe in detail to Tokyo for 70 years and considers the Islands of the South Kurils “illegally occupied territories”.

“Russia and Japan corny profitable to settle the territorial issue – so why is this not happening?”

However, in the last three years, the Japanese government replaced the term “occupied without legal grounds” – but the nature of the problem it does not change. Japan wants to regain the four Islands, lost it after defeat in world war II – Kunashir, Iturup, Shikotan and Habomai. Islands went to Russia together with South Sakhalin, but about it speech does not go – still its Japan received only in 1905, according to the results of the Russo-Japanese war. And the southern Kuril Islands inhabited by the Ainu, Russia recognized part of Japan in 1855, the first Treaty between the two countries. That is, for Japanese people, it would be quite “own” territory – that require her back. Cite while the fact that our two countries never concluded a peace Treaty following the war of 1945. But the reason for the absence signature of the USSR under the San Francisco Treaty of 1951 was the refusal of Japan to accept the loss of sovereignty over the Islands.

All these years Japan is not willing to make with Russia a peace Treaty as long as Moscow does not return the “Northern territories”. The position of Russia, and before that the USSR is simple – the island is included in the composition of our country by the end of the Second world war, and about any revision of its results cannot be and speeches. Seemingly at a dead end – but there is one clearance.

After the conclusion of a peace Treaty Russia can transfer to Japan two of four Islands – the smallest, Shikotan and Habomai. This position was fixed in the Moscow Declaration of 1956, following the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Ichiro Hatoyama. Then it seemed that the two countries were close to settling a dispute – but all was frustrated. For one simple reason – because of the U.S. position, which by that time had actually occupied the Ryukyu Islands (Okinawa is still the largest American base) and had a great influence on domestic and foreign policy of Japan. Washington didn’t have a reconciliation between the USSR and Japan – and Tokyo was given to understand that if he refused all claims to Kunashiri and Etorofu, it can give up hopes for the return of the Ryukyu.
As Russia and Japan divided the territory (click to enlarge)

Japan took two of the island – indeed, in 1960 Prime Minister Kishi (grandfather of the current Prime Minister Abe) have signed a security agreement with the U.S. that allowed the Americans to use the country for their troops and bases. Moscow was outraged, especially because she initially wanted to tie the transfer of two Islands to the return of Okinawa by the Americans, but then made concessions and withdrew this item and stated that he does not consider themselves more bound by the promises of the Declaration of 1956. Indeed, why increase the territory of American unsinkable aircraft carrier?

For all that the two countries wanted to develop a relationship – because we, as neighbors, lots of mutual interests – and therefore periodically has renewed the conversation about the need to resolve the territorial dispute. For Tokyo it is impossible to refuse the claims on the Southern Kuril Islands – it became a question of national prestige. All the more important that the Japanese still exist in limited foreign-policy sovereignty – the U.S. act as an actual moderator of their foreign and defense policies.

But to claim the States, incensed by their role of “patron of Japan”, Tokyo. Not just the Americans wrote Japan’s Constitution, but also managed to convince the majority of Japanese society is that they are the best guarantors of Japan’s security from China and Russia. In fact, the Americans oppose normal relations of Japan with China and Russia – because, if the Japanese can think about the need of American tutelage.

And yet, Japanese elites persistently seeking ways of strengthening the independence of their own state and the return of full sovereignty. The current Prime Minister Abe is preparing a constitutional reform that modifies some of the political (value – which is very important for the Japanese) and foreign policy that is defensive principles. Japan will not leave from the USA (States even now interested in a more active military policy of Tokyo in the region) – but will feel more confident.


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