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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Russian-Japanese relations out of the power of “external factors”

Moscow is ready to work on preparation of visit of Vladimir Putin to Japan, being in Tokyo, said the speaker of the state Duma Sergey Naryshkin. This can be a response to the words of the former head of the Japanese foreign Ministry, reported about the interest of Tokyo in it. Losses from the sanctions are pushing Tokyo to return to the course, which began to line up due to the good relationship between Putin and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

On Thursday, the speaker of the state Duma Sergey Naryshkin, being on a visit to Tokyo, before flying to Moscow held a meeting with Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe. It was initially reported that Naryshkin and Abe could meet in Tokyo, but until the last moment, the meeting remained open to question. The former Prime Minister of Japan Yoshiro Mori said that he advised the current Prime Minister Abe meet in Tokyo with the Chairman of the state Duma of Russia.

“To join the sanctions relations between Moscow and Tokyo have developed well, because of the trust relationship, Abe and Putin”

At the meeting, which lasted just under an hour, “discussed a wide range of issues of bilateral relations between Russia and Japan”. According to the statement of Naryshkin reporters, one of the most serious problems in bilateral relations should be considered Japan’s participation in the anti-Russian sanctions. Naryshkin recalled that the government of Japan “followed odious political forces and joined the unlawful unilateral measures.”

As you know, in April last year Tokyo announced a temporary termination of issuing entry visas 23 representatives of official structures of Russia and others. TASS recalls that since the beginning of the participation of Japan in the sanctions campaign of the frozen assets of a number of Russian citizens allegedly “involved in the events in Ukraine.” Five Russian banks were forbidden to place securities in the Japanese market.

“The more you will continue this situation, the more damage will be caused to the Russian-Japanese bilateral relations, – said Naryshkin. – Of course we must resolutely put an end to this, and want politicians to act in the interests of its own people.”

Naryshkin also pointed to “external factors” that hinder the restoration of normal relations between the two countries. “We have good potential for increasing cooperation, sense of and mutual interest of our peoples to expand contacts. Sure, we could do more, but unfortunately, this is prevented by factors not directly connected with the relations of Russia and Japan, impede the actions of individual countries that are thousands of kilometers distant from Russia, and from Japan”, – quotes RIA “news” the state Duma speaker.

In a speech in Tokyo, the speaker of the state Duma recalled that even at the end of “sanctions” in 2014 Russia and Japan managed to maintain the level of turnover, which Naryshkin called the record – about $ 30 billion. However, as announced on 6 may, the Russia trade representative in Japan Sergey Egorov, in the medium term loss of Japanese companies from participation in the sanctions is estimated at $ 10 billion. It is obvious that Japan’s withdrawal from sanctions imposed on a senior ally of the United States, primarily benefits Japan.

“Puck is now on the side of Japan”

Due to the cooling of Russian-Japanese relations still did not take place planned for autumn 2014, the visit of the President of Russia Vladimir Putin to Japan. But now the visit of the Russian leader could become a reality. Yesterday at a meeting with Naryshkin the Chairman of the ruling liberal democratic party of Japan, ex-foreign Minister Masahiko Komura said Tokyo is interested in the arrival of President Putin to discuss territorial issues, particularly the issue of the Kuril Islands.

Russia is ready to work on the preparation of the visit of the Russian leader in Japan, said Naryshkin, speaking on Thursday at the Russian-Japanese forum “points of contact”. Speaker of the state Duma said in Moscow believe that this meeting should provide a qualitative leap in bilateral relations. “And this requires, first of all, a lot of preparatory work on the content, – said Naryshkin. To do it alone is impossible: it requires support from the partner. We are ready to move forward, I hope that Tokyo will be determined with your plans.”

He noted that, in the words of the President of Russia, the washer is now on the side of Japan.

“Lavrov criticized, and expounded the point of view”

As for the painful moment in Sino-Russian relations – the issue of ownership of the South Kuril Islands (or “Northern territories” in Japanese terminology), Naryshkin stressed that he agreed with the opinion of foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the Kuril issue. Recall that Lavrov said on Tuesday that Japan remains the only country in the world, which questioned the results of the Second world war, in particular, challenging the Kuril Islands belonging. “I understand that my colleague Sergei Lavrov criticized Japan for this position, and expounded his point of view, based on the previously signed international documents, treaties, agreements. And with a position like this the statement of Sergey Lavrov, I quite agree,” – said Naryshkin.

Let us add that President Vladimir Putin during a straight line said that Russia has not changed its approach to the topic, Smoking in the relations with Japan after the reunification with Crimea. “We are ready for dialogue with Japan on this matter (the Kurile Islands), including on the basis of the known documents of 1956, which was ratified by the Japanese Parliament,” – said Putin.

It is a joint Declaration in 1956 was signed by the USSR and Japan: in the document, Moscow has agreed to consider the possibility of transfer of Japan two territories – the Islands of Shikotan and ridges Habomai – in case of concluding a peace Treaty. The USSR hoped to put on this point, Japan believed a deal is only a part of the solution, not abandoning claims to all the disputed Islands.

Recalling the Russo-Japanese Treaty on trade and borders of 1855, Tokyo requires a transfer of all “Northern territories”, including the larger Islands of Kunashir and Iturup. Subsequent negotiations came to nothing lead, as the position of Tokyo has remained steadfast. However, in December 2014, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that Japan intends to work toward the solution of the territorial issue with Russia and the signing of the peace Treaty.

“Relations out of stagnation

In his commentary, published on the eve of the visit of Naryshkin, the Japan Times, calling Russian speakers “a person close to President Putin, stated: the Chairman of the state Duma, which is expected meeting with the head of the house of representatives Oshima Tadamori and perhaps Prime Minister Abe, included in the European and American sanctions lists. However, we will remind, in April of last year in Japan confirmed the absence of sanctions against Naryshkin.

“In my opinion, the visit of the head of the state Duma in Japan, his meeting with the Deputy Chairman of the liberal democratic party Comoros tells about the shift in Russian-Japanese relations. The important thing is that the speaker was received by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, that was not pre-determined, – said in comments the newspaper VIEW head of the Center of researches of Japan of Institute of Far Eastern studies Valery Kistanov. – Relationships come out of that state of stagnation or even backsliding, in which they were from the time when Japan joined the sanctions of Western countries”.

However, as noted by Kistanov, Moscow believes that Putin’s visit to Japan must be preceded by the visit to Russia of the head of the Japanese foreign Ministry Fumio Kishida. “The arrival Kishida is very important, including the fact that he is the cochairman of the Russian-Japanese intergovernmental Commission on economic cooperation and trade,” – says the expert. The non-arrival Kishida, it seems, was regarded by the Russian side as the fact that the Japanese are not very serious about the preparation of Putin’s visit, believes Kistanov. In his opinion, that the Japanese side needs to prepare thoroughly, pointed out and comments of the press Secretary of Russian President Dmitry Peskov, and the statements of Naryshkin to Tokyo.

In the power of a trusting relationship

The expert recalled that before the accession to the sanctions campaign, relations between Moscow and Tokyo “developed very good and progressive”. “To a large extent, this development was based on, as they say in Japan, personal relations between Vladimir Putin and Shinzo Abe, points Kistanov. – Even after the election of Putin for President in 2012, the Russian leader took a speech about the need to compromise, mutually acceptable solution on the territorial issue.”

According to the source, the Japanese are very encouraged by the fact that Putin praised the absence of a peace Treaty between the two countries as an abnormal situation. It smoothed over the effect which made the visit of Dmitry Medvedev to Kunashir island in 2010. “Abe, as in 2013, on a visit to Moscow, meeting with Putin said about the need to develop a relationship, then Japanese Prime Minister and Russian President have met several times, until the introduction of Japan sanctions”, – reminded Kistanov.

According to him, in the end of 2014, Japan started commuting between Moscow and Washington, she could not disobey its main partner in the international arena that led to the failure of Putin’s visit to Tokyo. However, adds Kistanov should remember about the meeting between the two leaders on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Beijing in November 2014.


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