Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is going to visit Russia. The timing is not yet announced, but, apparently, in late April – early may, he will meet with Vladimir Putin in Sochi. Russian-Japanese relations are important not only in themselves, but as part of a global geopolitical game that goes on between Moscow and Washington.
“After 70 years, between our countries there is still a territorial issue. In addition, not signed a peace Treaty. It’s not normal, said on Saturday the Prime Minister of Japan. – The territorial problem is not simple. Without trust it is impossible to have a dialogue on this issue. For both sides a solution to this problem is accompanied by risk.
“Almost the entire post-war history of contacts between the leaders of Russia and Japan happen in a very strange mode
However, President Putin was able to develop trusting relationships. I trust him completely. I think Putin also knows that the solution to this problem will have a positive impact on the development of Russia… and I And President Putin have reached this understanding. Somehow this problem needs to be addressed. Realizing this, I would like to visit Russia and to President Putin came to Japan. The exact timing is not yet defined, it must be in the right time”.
The words of the Japanese Prime Minister regarding the Smoked look, to put it mildly, not very well, as has already been stated, the Russian foreign Ministry – but the importance of the meeting of the two leaders is not reduced.
About the trip of the first President of Russia spoke after a a month ago, a telephone conversation between leaders of the two countries – after it appeared the first leaks and comments of officials. February 7 – the day of the so-called Northern territories – Abe said that he plans to visit Russia at the “right time”, and the Japanese press wrote that “started to work out Abe’s visit to Sochi in southern Russia and meetings with President Putin.” On February 15 in Tokyo held talks with Deputy foreign Ministers – and it became clear that preparing two visits. In mid-April in Japan waiting for Sergei Lavrov, then Russia will go Abe.
The Japanese have said that Abe, who this year plays host to the “big seven” sees “its mediation role and the significance of his presidency, that is, “bridge”, which unites Russia with G7,” and “ready to convey the concerns faced by countries of the G7, Russian President, and at the same time he is ready to share the opinion of Putin to the members of the “big seven”. Given that the summit “the seven” opens on may 26, it is clear that the visit will take place before that. As the most probable period is called the end of April – beginning of may. It is clear that the trip has been agreed with Washington – especially during the talks, Abe and Putin will discuss and indefinitely postponed the visit of the Russian President to Japan.As Russia and Japan shared area (click to enlarge)
In General, the contacts between the two leaders happen in a very strange mode and rhythm, and this applies to almost the entire history of post-war relations between the two countries. They all the time something interferes. And there are two reasons, and interrelated: the influence of the United States, who are doing everything to prevent a Russo-Japanese rapprochement in the first place strongly pedal the theme “territorial dispute”.
At the time it is the fault of the U.S. the Islands issue had not been resolved, the Soviet Union and Japan agreed to sign a peace Treaty and the subsequent transfer of the two Islands, but the us has threatened that in this case Tokyo can forget about returning under Japanese jurisdiction in Okinawa, where you will find an American base. Japan as a whole was considered in the USSR as the great unsinkable American aircraft carrier, and the Japanese elites came from the fact that their geopolitical sovereignty is limited by the United States. Therefore, the chances of rapprochement between the two countries. Besides, there was practically no personal relationships between the leaders of the two countries.
After the talks, Hatoyama and Khrushchev in 1956, the first meeting of the heads of the two countries not only after the Second world war, but in General in the history of our relations, contacts at the highest level it was not until 1973, when in Moscow with official visit has arrived the Prime Minister Tanaka. This meeting didn’t continue – too independent and strong premiere soon forced to resign (of course, for corruption). And another ten years passed without meetings at the highest level. Further contacts can not be called solid: the Japanese premiere was in Moscow for the funeral of General Secretary in 1982 and 1985.
Even perestroika changed the Soviet Union’s relations with the West, did not lead to the exchange of visits at the highest level. In Moscow began actively to bring former Prime Ministers, livened up different contacts, but the first summit the summit took place only in April 1991, when Gorbachev paid an official visit to Tokyo. Total for all 46 post-war years, the leaders of the two countries have met three times for meetings and twice for the funerals of Soviet leaders. Neither one of the countries of the Western world was not such a rare relationship.
The collapse of the Soviet Union in Japan has created hope for the return of the Islands – from the planned to the autumn of 1992, Yeltsin’s visit was waiting for a “breakthrough”. And in Moscow there were forces – as the foreign Ministry and the Kremlin is ready to make concessions. But the visit still managed to leave it, and a year later the President of Russia has promised nothing to the Japanese. In 90 years we passed several summits – on neutral territory during international summits in Moscow, which in the second half of the ‘ 90s with the official visit to two Japanese Prime Minister.
With the coming to power of Putin it seemed that the rapprochement of the two countries can really begin. In Tokyo, too, changed the Prime Minister and came to power Yoshiro Mori was set on establishing good relations with Russia. In 2000, several meetings were held at the top. But already in April 2001, Mori lost the Premiership – although he now is the most active proponent of Russian-Japanese cooperation in the ruling liberal democratic party, the course began to determine the other.
Putin tried to build a normal relationship with Mori’s successor, Junichiro Koizumi, who headed the Japanese Cabinet is unusually long for this monarchy five years. But despite the fact that contacts at the highest level remained regular and in November 2005 the President of Russia even paid a visit to Tokyo, no progress in resolving the territorial issue did not happen. The Japanese leadership continued to wait for the sea Islands. And, most likely, not because, quite unreasonably hoped that at some point Russia will concede, but simply because he knew that to abandon territorial claims neither for domestic nor for foreign policy reasons (the US is absolutely not necessary).
In the fall of 2006, Koizumi was replaced by Shinzo Abe – and the year of his Premiership he managed three times to meet with Putin. After the resignation of Abe from 2007 to 2012 in Japan had five Prime Ministers – not all of them the leaders of Russia managed to even meet you. And in General, relations between the two countries began to deteriorate. As for lack of Moscow has a strong partner in Tokyo, and because Russia started to build the Kuril Islands, which caused sharp protests from Tokyo. The visit of the then President Dmitry Medvedev Smoked in 2010, the first trip by a Russian leader to the Islands, it was perceived as a challenge. But in 2012 returned to power, Abe – who immediately said that is set to improve relations and the settlement of territorial problems.
Since September 2012, Abe met with Putin is already eight times in total, counting and 2006-2007, both of them were already 12 times. And the geography of these meetings is impressive: Australia, Canada, USA, Vietnam, China, Germany… one year in Japan and three games in Russia, where Abe was twice in 2013 and once in 2014 (at the opening of the Olympic games in Sochi, where he was the only leader from the countries “the seven”). Putin was supposed to visit Japan in the autumn of 2014 – but in the summer the Japanese had postponed the visit, however, they don’t even hide the fact that doing this under US pressure. Tokyo joined anti-Russian sanctions, without any hunting and rather formally – and all the last two years periodically check for loose pressure from Washington to pop out one of the first.
Personal contacts Abe and Putin have kept the regularity. They met in the fall of 2014 and twice in the last year, most recently in November in Turkey. But still it contacts at international summits, and need a thorough conversation, which was not for two years, with the Olympic Sochi. In addition, the Japanese already postponed several times the visit of Putin – now about him spoke again Abe, without naming, however, is the timing.
If at the may summit in Sochi will be able to arrange a visit of Putin to Tokyo this year, it will become an important symbol of the fact that Japan is weakening the American leash. The Islands are increasingly aware that the real recovery of national sovereignty is not due to the return of the “stolen Russian Islands”, and with the ability to get out of imposed by the Atlanticist confrontation with Russia. Shinzo Abe could at least try to do it.Related posts: