Kuril courage: how do you solve the question of the Islands Putin and Japanese Prime Minister

Friday and Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin held in Vladivostok, the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe. On Friday they spent the second year of a full-scale talks, and on Saturday both spoke at the plenary meeting of the Eastern economic forum. It was also attended by South Korean President Park Geun-Hye.

The mood in the Kuril Islands

Abe on the forum invited the Russian President to meet annually in Vladivostok, in order to “compare notes” on development of cooperation between the two countries. Abe said, “the Dream of President Putin to return to the Vladivostok international fame of the city, is my dream.” He also urged his Russian partner not to defer settlement of the territorial dispute and conclude a peace Treaty, was signed between the USSR and Japan after the Second world war. “We can conduct such a debate for decades. If you leave it as is, without changes, neither I nor you will not be able to provide better opportunities for future generations. Vladimir, we are with you people of the same generation. Let’s be bold and take responsibility, let’s overcome all difficulties” — called Abe. The current situation in which the countries do not have a peace Treaty, the Prime Minister called “abnormal”.

The Russian leader has supported it. “In solving these problems, none of the parties should not feel slighted or lost, — said the President of Russia. — In the history of a few examples of this approach and this decision. But I really hope that we will be able to give you an example. We want it to. We know that the Japanese side wants this.”

About how much closer the positions of Russia and Japan on the territorial issue after talks between Putin and Abe, their representatives said. The question of the peace Treaty were discussed, dryly commented on Russian foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the outcome of the discussion.

Before the beginning of the forum the Japanese newspaper Kyodo reported that Abe is preparing to invite Putin to transfer to Japan two southern Islands of the four controversial. In exchange, adds the Japanese Mainichi, Tokyo living there will be allowed the Russians to stay in their homes. Subsequently, the press Secretary of the Japanese Cabinet Yoshihide Suga flatly rejected such plans. However, a few days ago Suga also claimed that the information about Abe plans to hold an annual meeting in Vladivostok is not true.

The reluctance to disclose details and the deliberate blurring of the information characteristic of Japanese diplomacy when we are talking about serious negotiations on substantive issues, said the former Russian Ambassador to Japan Alexander Panov. “This is a very rational approach, — the expert adds nothing to reveal, not to excite thereby the public opinion. Moreover, this policy consistently held since the may meeting in Sochi.” Based on this, the person is optimistic about the current round of negotiations for the compromise.

From the speech of the leaders on the forum, it became clear that they have a willingness to implement the 1956 Declaration, said the head of the Agency “Foreign policy” and program Director of the discussion club “Valdai” by Andrey sushentsov. For this lately formed conditions was unusually high diplomatic activity, and although the Minister of Laramie rather harshly spoke a few months ago on the territorial issues, then the tone began to change.

According to the Declaration, the Soviet Union (Russia confirmed the obligation) to ready after the conclusion of a peace agreement to transfer the two Islands — Shikotan and Habomai — Japan.

Russia reminds Sushentsov, always sent a signal that she is under pressure to compromise will not go, and ready to return to the discussion in the large-scale process of improving bilateral relations, which is now observed. However, experts say that Japan could come under pressure from the United States: declaring a program of economic cooperation in the eight areas of Tokyo actually removes from the Russian sanctions, which Washington will not be glad.

The expert also notes that the programme for improving relations in Russia is the personal brainchild of Prime Minister Abe, with whom Putin has developed a relationship of trust, and weakening of the Abe or his resignation as Prime Minister can call into question the current positive momentum

The economy will help

In Vladivostok, Putin and Abe, talked mainly about the implementation of economic cooperation, it follows from the statements of the Minister of foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov. In Sochi, Abe introduced a program of economic cooperation in eight areas, mostly it was about Japanese investment projects in the Russian far East (investment in infrastructure, transport, energy, construction and more, until urban planning).

For the first time, the Russian side has recorded the willingness of Japan to the joint economic activities on disputable Islands. “Now we feel the willingness of the Japanese partners to discuss issues related to joint economic activity on the Islands, and not only related to joint economic activities, but also issues relating to exchanges between people,” — said Minister Lavrov. Previously, according to him, this readiness was not felt.

Japan has always linked the development of economic relations with political issues, said the head of the Center for Japanese studies, Institute of Far Eastern studies Valery Kistanov.

Numerous negotiations and the General sympathetic tone of the Japanese show that Tokyo distanciruemsa from the sanctions policy toward improving relations with Russia, emphasizes lords. Japan, according to the expert, purposefully busy specific activities on restoration of relations. This suggests that the economic partnership is not only a tool in the diplomatic dialogue, but it is important in and of itself.