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Sunday, March 11, 2018

Russia can offer a new solution of the dispute about 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 territorial claims of Japan to our country, to detail it to Express to Tokyo for 70 years, believes the Islands of the Southern Kurils “illegally occupied territories”.

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

However, in the past three years, the Japanese government replaced the term “occupied without legal grounds” – but the essence of the problem 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 along with Southern Sakhalin, but about it speech does not go – after all it Japan received only in 1905, at the end of the Russo-Japanese war. And the southern Kurile Islands inhabited by the Ainu, Russia recognized part of Japan in 1855, the first Treaty between the two countries. That is, for the Japanese it is sort of “own” territory – that require her back. Refers in this case to the fact that our two countries never concluded a peace Treaty at the end of the war in 1945. But the reason for the absence the signature of the USSR under the San Francisco Treaty of 1951 was Japan’s refusal to recognize the loss of sovereignty over the Islands.

All these years Japan does not want to conclude with Russia a peace Treaty as long as Moscow does not return the “Northern territories”. The position of Russia and previously the USSR is simple – the island is included in the composition of our country at the end of the Second world war, and about any revision of its results can not be considered. It would seem that a complete standstill – but it has one skylight.

After the conclusion of a peace Treaty Russia can transfer to Japan two of four Islands – the smallest, Shikotan and Habomai. This position was set forth in the Moscow Declaration of 1956, following the visit of the Japanese Prime Minister Ichiro Hatoyama. Then it seemed that the two countries are close to resolving a dispute – but all was thwarted. For one simple reason – because of the position of the United States, which by that time had actually occupied the Ryukyu archipelago (on the island of Okinawa is still the largest American base) and had a huge 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 leave you with hopes for the return of the Ryukyus.As Russia and Japan shared area (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 Pact with the U.S. that allowed the Americans to continue to use the country’s territory to accommodate 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 it no longer considered itself bound by the promises of the Declaration of 1956. Indeed, why to increase the territory of the 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 was periodically revived talk of the need for a settlement of the territorial dispute. For Tokyo it is impossible to abandon claims to the Southern Kuriles – it became a question of national prestige. All the more important that the Japanese still exist in the mode of the limited foreign-policy sovereignty – the United States act as an actual moderator of their foreign and defense policies.

But to claim the States, resenting their role as a “protector of Japan, Tokyo may not. Not just the Americans wrote the Japanese Constitution, but also managed to convince the majority of Japanese society is that they are the best guarantee of Japan’s security against China and Russia. In fact, the Americans oppose normal relations of Japan with China and Russia – because by installing them, the Japanese may 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, changing how some of the political (value – which is very important for the Japanese) and a foreign policy that is defensive principles. Japan withdraws from USA (States even now interested in a more active military policy in Tokyo in the region) – but will feel more confident.

Under these conditions, the settlement of relations with Russia for the Japanese becomes extremely important. The more they realize that with each year becoming more dependent on the growing power of American-Chinese confrontation. Tokyo does not want to be back toy USA in their struggle with China and Russia. But if in the case of China put forward territorial claims to Japan just Beijing over the Senkaku Islands, in Chinese, Diaoyu) Islands, it all depends on the claims of Japan. You cannot go back – but hope for concessions to Russia is meaningless.

For Russia the decision of a territorial problem with Japan, it would seem, does not have any options – we can’t go on reviewing the results of the war, and especially in the concession areas. But it is important to us is normal, and even better – good relations with the powerful neighbor. Japan needs our energy, she is interested in the Russian market – the country already is in economic stagnation. But Russia needs Japanese investments to develop the far East will be easier in the case of attracting Japanese capital. Beneficial for both countries to settle the territorial issue – so why is this not happening?

Of course, the huge importance of the American influence in Japan. Especially now, during the conflict between Russia and the United States, when Washington is trying to support would want the illusion of the siege of Moscow United the West. Tokyo reluctant to join the sanctions and agreed to reschedule Putin’s visit last year to this. If the President of Russia to the end of the year all-taki will visit Tokyo, it will mean that Japanese have become more independent from Washington. But for political calm in Tokyo need to show that there is some progress in solving the territorial question – that being all this talk about the Islands.

Does he believe anyone in Tokyo that Putin will bring them not the fact that four, but at least two Islands? Of course not – it would be funny if the President of Russia promised to return even two Islands in the current situation. Yes, it is in the present – because, in principle, Russia does not refuse to discuss the possibility of returning two Islands promised in the Declaration of 1956. But what needs to happen for this?

Japan should give up claims to Iturup and Kunashir – that is, to agree to record it in the bilateral agreement. These two Islands will never be handed over to the Japanese – neither on paper nor in reality. The Japanese will be able to visit them without a visa, stay in a permanent place of residence, their former residents living in Japan, can obtain different preferences – much can be done in case of failure of Tokyo, claims to Iturup and Kunashir. But on returning to forget. After realizing this fact, the Japanese can count on the agreement with Russia on the two remaining Islands.

We are not talking about the sale of the Islands – the idea popular among our liberals, who in the early ‘ 90s were willing to give all the island, as if in exchange for a promise of investment. But now, or a hundred, or two hundred billion dollars will not cover the damage from the sale of Shikotan and Habomai – because the fact reduce the territory of Russia will lead to catastrophic consequences for the national spirit, and the geopolitical position of the country.

Yes, Habomai – are not sacred to Russia, the land, like Crimea. But a review of the outcome of the war, albeit under the pretext of “exchange of two rocks on the revival of the Far East” would have resulted in automatic updating of all claims to territorial gains our country made after world war II (for example, Kaliningrad). But Habomai – it does not fill with water damanskii island, the battlefield in 1969, which in the past decade was ceded to China after the demarcation of the border on the Amur river. There was also the unresolved border, which finally set together, but here are clearly enshrined in our laws, the increment in the territory at the end of the war. Do not sell the Motherland – even if this specific piece is recent by historical standards, acquisition.

For the sake of peace with Japan, these two Islands could become a condominium is to go under the joint control of the two countries. This form of control was used in the past, but now almost never used. By the way, the same Sakhalin island from 1855 to 1875 was actually the Russo-Japanese condominium. Two small Islands in the event of such transfer under the partial control of Japan would become a symbol of reconciliation between the two countries and the settlement of the territorial problem, an artificial and largely supported by interested in her presence by the Americans.

It is clear that such an option of a peace Treaty could be concluded only in the framework of a broad agreement on strategic partnership between the two countries, including geopolitical and financial-economic obligations of the parties.

The removal of the problem of the Islands would open in the relations of the two countries are in a new era. And, most importantly, our new trust and the strategic relationship would help both peoples to solve vital domestic objectives. Russia is to accelerate the modernization of the Far East, and Japan – to regain sovereignty. Not over the South Kuril Islands and over their own country and its future. This choice can only do the Japanese themselves – and Russia is ready to wait until then, until they are ripe for such decisions.

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