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Saturday, March 17, 2018

The appetite of Japan over the Kuril Islands becoming more modest

“The last polls showed that more than half of the Japanese agree on a compromise, which was not observed before”. With these words, the Orientalists comment on the results of the meeting of the Russian President and Prime Minister of Japan, dealing in part with the problem of the South Kuril Islands. Appeared signals that the parties at least made each other a step forward.

“We do not sell territories”, although “we would like our Japanese friends to find a solution to this problem”, said on Friday Agency Bloomberg, the Russian President Vladimir Putin. The announcement came a few hours before the meeting the Russian leader with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, held in Vladivostok in the framework of the Eastern economic forum.

“Russia needs Japan’s assistance in the modernization of the economy, for Japan it is important to avoid too tight for our rapprochement with China”

Speaking of Tarabarov island (which became a few years ago, Chinese), Putin said that Russia did not give these territories to China, it was a territory that was disputed and in respect of which negotiations were conducted with China for 40 years, reports RIA “Novosti”. “I want to stress that 40 years, and in the end found a compromise. Part of the territory finally set out for Russia, part of the territory finally assigned to the people’s Republic of China”, – said Putin. According to him, this became possible due to the high level of trust between Russia and China. “And if we achieve the same high level of trust with Japan, as with China, you can find some compromises,” said the Russian President.

More than half of the Japanese “have already agreed”

Relevant to the question of “Northern territories” and the ruling circles and among the ordinary inhabitants of the Country of the rising sun has softened considerably, say experts in both countries.

Now the Japanese side is ready for a compromise, said the newspaper VIEW former head of agrodepartment the Japanese foreign Ministry, participated in the negotiations of Vladimir Putin and then Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori 2001, now Professor at Kyoto University Kazuhiko Togo. He noticed that Abe was not on Friday to make any statements on the results of the conversation with Putin, but the Prime Minister clearly wanted to show that happy with the way he’s constructed dialogue with the Russian leader and that negotiations are conducted in full respect of the parties. “Without this sense of mutual respect does not appear,” – said the former diplomat, adding: “But I feel that he is ready for some kind of compromise”.

“Even during a meeting tete-a-tete with Putin in Sochi Shinzo Abe said that he intends to use a new approach in negotiations, but the essence of the approach was not disclosed. It is possible that we are talking about the transfer of two Islands. Recent public opinion polls showed that more than half of the Japanese agreed to this compromise, which was not observed before,” – said the newspaper VIEW former Russian Ambassador in Tokyo, head of the Department of diplomacy of MGIMO Alexander Panov, noting that Japan seeks to establish good neighborly relations with Moscow, since it is not interested in strengthening ties between Russia and China.

As Russia and Japan shared area (click to enlarge)If, at the time, the willingness to compromise showed only the Russian side, now step forward willing to do the Japanese, said Panov. “All of this was not “sudden.” With the coming to power of Shinzo Abe showed friendly to the Russian approach. He was the only one of the leaders of the “big seven” attending the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. Now his arrival in Vladivostok showed that in fact, Shinzo Abe has emerged from the regime of Western sanctions. In fact, specifically Tokyo against Russia and are not introduced,” – said the former Ambassador.

“Both Russia and Japan in any way interested in mutual cooperation. Russia needs Japan’s assistance in the modernization of the economy, for Japan it is important to avoid too tight for our rapprochement with China,” says Panov, senior researcher, Institute of Far Eastern studies Vasily Kashin, adding that after a long break Moscow and Tokyo seem to have resumed work on a compromise.

As the newspaper OPINION, a year ago in Tokyo and politicians discussed the idea of a “Grand bargain” with Moscow. A famous Japanese politician, former member of Parliament, Muneo Suzuki called for then in exchange for the Kuril Islands to recognize the Crimea part of Russia to cancel sanctions against Russia. Russian experts, however, at the same time expressed doubt that the United States will allow even just to discuss this “exchange”.

“Including the question of the Northern territories”

After a meeting between Putin and Abe on Friday in Vladivostok, it became known that they made an exchange – but not yet, they just gifts. The Japanese guest gave Putin a samurai helmet, and the Russian leader gave him a long Japanese sword (katana) is one of the twelve that were used during the enthronement ceremony of Emperor Hirohito in 1928. The economy Minister of Japan, Hiroshige Seko who attended the meeting, said that “Prime Minister Abe should not use a katana.

“They discussed bilateral issues and international issues, including the issue of the Northern territories. They had a broad and Frank discussion,” said following the meeting of leaders of the representative the Ministry of foreign Affairs of Japan Yasuhisa Kawamura, adding that a new conversation is scheduled at the APEC summit in Peru in November.

Russian foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov later confirmed: “of Course, our leaders discussed the peace Treaty, in accordance with the agreements that were reached on may 6 in Sochi. Held two rounds of consultations at the level of Deputy foreign Ministers”, – he said. According to Lavrov, Moscow feels the readiness of Tokyo to discuss joint economic and humanitarian activities in the Kuril Islands. According to him, the parties agreed to continue consultations, the results of which will be announced in the forthcoming visit of the Russian leader to Japan.

The visit is scheduled for 15 December, and the two leaders will meet again in Yamaguchi Prefecture in southern Honshu. Speaking about the meeting in December, Lavrov said that they “will discuss political and economic issues, including the peace Treaty”, “parties agreed to work to Putin’s visit was fruitful.”

The first Deputy Chairman of Committee of the Federation Council Vladimir Jabbarov welcomes the readiness of Tokyo to the negotiating table. “Around the world, and in Japan in particular, realized that to impose their position of Russia in a categorical tone not and it can not but rejoice,” – said dzhabarov the newspaper VIEW. The Senator also suggests that in one form or another, the parties will revert to the agreement of 1956, but it eliminates the possibility of discussion of the item of the Declaration about the transfer of two Islands to Japan. “Since Putin said that the territories are not selling, I don’t think it will go on the exchange. Most likely, an agreement will be reached on the joint use of coastal waters, natural resources, establish a joint Russian-Japanese companies on the Islands,” suggests the Senator.

Gentry also did not rule out that we are not talking about direct transfer, and joint development of the two Islands, as mentioned by Sergei Lavrov, or, for example, as proposed by the Russian side in 1998, the creation of a free economic zone there.

In contrast to the Russian Senator, a former Japanese diplomat Kazuhiko Togo hopes that the parties will begin negotiations just around article 9 of the joint Declaration of 1956, which provides for the transfer of Japan of island Shikotan and Habomai after a peace Treaty, and in parallel could be negotiations on the establishment on the Islands of Kunashir and Iturup joint special economic zones with legal status that is acceptable to both parties. According to That, this variant was proposed already by President Boris Yeltsin during a visit to Moscow of Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi in November 1998, but the Japanese delegation rejected the proposal.

“A comprehensive, multi-level agreement”

“I suspect it will be very difficult, complex, multi-tier agreement, and to speculate on its details is meaningless. The only thing I think it’s not just about the exchange of the Islands in the peace Treaty and the Japanese investments, but about the complex expanded package of mutual agreements,” – said Vasily Kashin of the newspaper LOOK. As for public reaction, according to experts, it depends on the quality of the agreement itself – in both countries it can be represented as a common achievement.

“Let me remind you also that in the Russian-Chinese agreement of 2004 was not registered “return of territories”, it officially only dealt with “non-delimited” from a legal point of view, the territories divided up on an equal basis. The agreement is objectively beneficial for Russia, has caused a murmur in both Chinese and in Russian nationalist circles, and here and there were talking about the surrender of territories. However it was on unpopulated areas. In the case of the Kuril Islands, we are dealing with territories with the population,” says Kashin.

However, in his opinion, the Russians after Crimea remains a certain level of confidence in the government, so a reasonable decision on the Kuril Islands will not cause any significant disturbance.


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