With views of the Islands: what they say Putin and Japanese Prime Minister

On Friday the second of September, President Vladimir Putin will hold a second year of talks with Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe. The meeting will be held at the second East economic forum held in Vladivostok. The forum itself will be much more representative of the first: in addition to Putin

The second international economic forum held in Vladivostok, will be more representative of the first. In addition to Putin, who spoke last year, and Abe will arrive also the President of South Korea Park Geun-Hye. With foreign leaders, Russian President will hold full-fledged negotiations: bilateral and in the composition of the delegation, said the presidential aide Yuri Ushakov.

A faithful partner

Despite the fact that Japan, being part of the group supported the exclusion of her Russia and join the sanctions imposed against Russia after the annexation of Crimea, Abe stressed the desire to preserve relations with Moscow. In may Japanese Prime Minister visited Putin in Sochi. There he offered the Russian President a plan for economic cooperation in eight areas: energy, industry, health, agriculture, urban environment and cooperation of the enterprises of small business, high technology and humanitarian exchanges. The proposal was received positively, said Ushakov. In response, Russia has prepared a list of the 49 projects in Tokyo presented by the Minister of economic Alexei Ulyukayev. Japan is the only country “seven”, whose relations with Russia over the past two and a half years showing good momentum, says Director of the Moscow Carnegie Center Dmitri Trenin.

After the Sochi meeting resumed dialogue on strategic stability (issues the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, combating international terrorism and other) between countries and foreign Ministry consultations on a peace Treaty — it’s been two meetings. To lead diplomatic efforts should Vladimir Putin’s visit to Tokyo at the end of the year. The Japanese side was invited Putin a few years ago, but formal invitations were not passed under US pressure, claimed the source , familiar with the preparation of the visit. However, the visit has been agreed and will take place, although the specific date will be announced later, said on Tuesday Ushakov.

The interest of Japan in the development of relations due to the fact that Tokyo through closer ties with Moscow wants to balance China’s influence in the region, as well as personal objective Abe to resolve the territorial issue, says Professor Temple University. James Brown.

Japanese gingerbread

The day before the visit to Vladivostok Prime Minister Abe appointed a special Commissioner for development of economic ties with Russia — economy Minister Hiroshige Seko . “The key government Minister will supervise all the issues of cooperation between Japan and Russia on the economy, including those that are not included in the mandate of the Ministry, so he will be a focal point for Japan and it is favorable news for the relationship,” — said Seko met with co-Chairman of “Business Russia” Alexey Repik. The appointment of a special Commissioner Repik explains the importance of Russia as a direction for Prime Minister Abe. He does not exclude that the same person will be appointed from the Russian side.

While the interaction koordiniruyutsya of the intergovernmental Commission on the Russian side it is headed by first Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, and with Japanese foreign Minister Fumio Kishida.

The Russian direct investment Fund will discuss the creation of the Russian-Japanese and Russian-Korean investment platforms, said at the forum the head of the Fund Kirill Dmitriev.

According to the Japanese television channel NHK, Abe also intends to invite Putin to hold a Russian-Japanese summit talks in Vladivostok annually. The Secretary-General of the Japanese Cabinet Yoshihide Suga said that this information was untrue.

A change of approach

The priority is the economy, and not policy in relations with Moscow is a new policy of Japan, explains the head of the Center for Japanese studies, Institute of Far Eastern studies Valery Kistanov. In the early 1990s, Tokyo has adhered to the policy that if there is no concessions on the territorial issue, there will be economic cooperation. Then Japan has softened its approach and began to practice the principle of expanding balance, which was that Russia should make concessions in the political sphere, and each step will be balanced with economic cooperation, but this principle did not work, like an expert Now Japan comes from the other end and offers cooperation, including on development of the Far East and hopes that this step will be appreciated and will lead to the solution of the territorial dispute, explains Kistanov.

After talks with Putin, Abe said that the solution to the issue of the Northern territories is found and a peace Treaty will be signed. He also said he offered Putin a new approach to solving the problem of the Kuril Islands and the Russian President supported the idea. Details of the new approach neither Abe nor Putin said.

Apparently, Abe proposed to Putin the formula of the Moscow Declaration of 1956 “Treaty plus the two Islands” in conjunction with certain conditions: the fee for Russian concessions in the framework of this option is the economic package, the fee for the Japanese — possible reservations about the status of Kunashiri and Etorofu, said the publication of the Carnegie Centre in the footsteps of the Sochi meeting.

The Japanese position has not changed, do not agree Kistanov. He recalled that after the statement Abe was followed by explanation of Japanese officials: the new approach does not constitute a change in its basic position of Tokyo, there is a desire to obtain the four Islands. Maximum flexibility, which can go to Tokyo is to agree to the island in “installments”: first, Russia should recognize Japan’s sovereignty over all four Islands, will return two, and then two more that for some time to use it.

On Thursday, the Japanese newspaper “Mainichi” wrote that the Japanese authorities will agree to the fact that the residents of the South Kuril Islands remain in the Islands if they are handed over by Russia to the Japanese side. The Secretary General of the Japanese Cabinet Minister Suga denied it. It is not excluded that the publication in the influential newspaper “Mainichi” is a reflection of the new approach, says kitanov.

Russia this approach are not satisfied, sure of Kistanov. It indicates that in Japan there is a controversy about the advisability of such a course: critics fear that Russia will have economic benefits, but it does not make concessions. Putin in late may, said that Russia island “sells”: “We do not sell anything. Russia is more ready to buy, but not sell anything,” said 20 may the President of Russia Vladimir Putin, responding in Sochi to a journalist’s question about, not whether Russia is trading with Japan about a peace Treaty.

The status of the Islands

After the Second world war, all the Kurile Islands were incorporated into the Soviet Union, but the ownership of Islands of Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan and group of Islands Habomai is disputed by Japan. In 1956, signed a joint Declaration ending the state of war between the USSR and Japan, but the peace Treaty still not signed. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier that Russia respects all of the obligations of the Soviet Union, including Soviet-Japanese Declaration which States that the parties undertake to conclude a peace Treaty only after that can be considered is that the Soviet Union, as he pledged, in order a goodwill gesture, ready to transfer, based on the aspirations of the Japanese people, Shikotan and Habomai ridge.