The Kuriles are not so transferred

The Kuriles are not so transferred

What’s not to like in the preparation of Japan to the negotiations between Vladimir Putin and Shinzo Abe.


The Ambassador of Japan in Russia Touchesa Kozuki yesterday was summoned to the foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation in connection with the recent statements by Tokyo’s admonition to “seek the understanding” of the residents of the South Kuril Islands on the question of “the transfer of territorial belonging of the Islands to Japan.” According to Moscow, in Tokyo grossly distort the essence of the agreements between the leaders of Russia and Japan on the acceleration of the negotiation process on the basis of the Joint Declaration of 1956. Harsh statement, the Russian foreign Ministry was a response to deployed by the government of Japan an information offensive on the eve of talks between Prime Minister Abe with President Vladimir Putin, scheduled for the end of January. With details — the correspondent of TASS in Tokyo Vasily Golovnin, specially for “Kommersant”.

Moscow in disbelief

As stated after a meeting with the Ambassador Kozuki, Deputy foreign Minister Igor Morgulov, “in Moscow drew attention to the statements made in the recent statements of the Japanese leadership on the issue of a peace Treaty with Russia.”

Of particular concern to the Russian side called the appeals “to achieve understanding” of the residents of the South Kuril Islands on the question of “the transfer of territorial belonging of the Islands to Japan.”

In addition, the Russian side believes that Tokyo is definitely pushing it, stating that in 2019 there will come a “turning point” in the question of a peace Treaty.

According to Mr. Morgulov, the head of the Japanese Embassy, it was stated that such statements grossly distort the essence of the agreements between the leaders of Russia and Japan on the acceleration of the negotiation process on the basis of the Joint Declaration of 1956, desorientiert community of the two countries on the content of the negotiations.

Harsh statement, the Russian foreign Ministry made shortly before the scheduled for second half of January visit to Russia, Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, was a response to deployed by the government of Japan an information offensive on the eve of negotiations with Vladimir Putin.

“We won’t tell them to leave”

Prime Minister Abe ever so often uttered the words “Russia” and “the island”, as in these days of January. They sounded in his television interview, in a speech before the representatives of the highest political and social circles in Tokyo, meeting with voters and, finally, during the ritual visit to the ancestral cemetery in the city of Nagato in the extreme South-West of the Japanese main island of Honshu.

To the grave of his father, a famous politician and Minister of foreign Affairs, Shinzo Abe, came with his wife and mother, leaving behind a couple dozen meters, who accompanied him, numerous reporters. This view was made just for them: after praying at the stone obelisk, the Prime Minister immediately announced to journalists that at the gravestone made a vow to make every effort to the speedy conclusion of a peace Treaty with Russia.

His father, Shintaro Abe, considered it his mission and even terminally ill, in a wheelchair found the strength to meet in April 1991, with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, trying to persuade him to give up the Southern Kuril Islands for the sake of eternal friendship with Tokyo.

At a meeting in Singapore in November last year, President Putin and Prime Minister Abe agreed to accelerate negotiations on the signing of a peace Treaty on the basis of the Soviet-Japanese Joint Declaration of 1956.

In it, the Soviet Union expressed its willingness to convey to the neighbor South Kuril island Shikotan and a ridge surrounding the now uninhabited Islands that the Japanese call Habomai and for convenience consider the negotiations over the single island. However, this was supposed to be done only after signing the contract.

The Declaration ended the state of war between Moscow and Tokyo, ratified by Japan’s Parliament and the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR is the most important document in their postwar relations. President Putin has repeatedly said that it recognizes the agreement of 1956, but, according to him, the paragraph about the transfer of the Islands is too General, can be interpreted in different ways and needs clarification. Apparently, Shinzo Abe is trying to do, eager to seize the initiative on the eve of the upcoming talks, which he expects very much.

Prime Minister Abe, for example, said that Tokyo is willing to accept the presence of the Russian population on the Islands after their transfer to Japan.

“We’re not going to say that they went out,” said Shinzo Abe, in an interview with TV channel “TV Asahi”.

Moreover, according to him, the transfer of territory must be carried out so that the consent expressed by their current Russian residents.

Some have regarded this phrase as an allusion to the referendum, but, apparently, the Japanese Prime Minister is unlikely to have this in mind: the referendum is a dangerous business, the result is not guaranteed.

In the 90-ies in the Japanese press, there were reports that those wishing to go to Russia, Tokyo will be willing to pay after the transfer of territories quite generous lifting. Now talk of this being, but Prime Minister Abe is inclined to speak of “coexistence” the Russians and the Japanese on the Islands. Apparently, in Tokyo, can’t see much of a problem — because the people of Shikotan correspond to 3 thousand people, and the government of Japan intends over the next five years to bring into the country not less than 340 thousand foreign workers and professionals to meet the shortage of manpower. Now actively developing programs of their social and cultural adaptation, which can potentially be applied to residents of the South Kuril Islands.

Not compensation, but “economic assistance”

Much more Tokyo outlined his vision for the financial side of the proposed transaction on the Islands. Newspaper “Yomiuri” reported that the Abe government intends, together with the conclusion of a peace Treaty to sign with Russia the agreement on the mutual waiver of material claims.

Tokyo believes this is a significant concession: the fact that officially he considers the Southern Kuril Islands its “illegally occupied territories”.

From there, deported Japanese inhabitants, according to his logic, were forcibly deprived the Islands of their land and other property, lost the right to fish and other revenues.

Now in Japan there are about 6 thousand former residents of the Islands and their direct heirs, documents on lost property are generally retained. Still Tokyo considered himself entitled to demand the transfer of territories damages or return of property. Now, however, according to “Yomiuri”, the government is willing to assume such payment and pay them from the state budget of Japan. At the same time, apparently, it expects that Russia will not stand as counterclaims in the transfer of the Islands — for example, to claim compensation for the costs of the infrastructure created there after 1945.

At the same time, according to the newspaper, Tokyo intends to think about to provide Russia with financial reward for transferred to the island.

To do it seems to be assumed in the form of “economic assistance”, the amount is not yet known, but officially Tokyo such reports are not commented.

However, it is important that the waiver of the requirement of compensation could potentially lead to the weakening or even disappearance of the notion of “illegal occupation” Southern Kuriles. And from this you can bridge the gap and to the recognition, albeit in a nominal form, the legality of their stay in the USSR and Russia since 1945, than rigidly insisting Moscow.

Tool containment of China

The least distinct looks while the response of the government of Japan on the Russian side expressed concerns about the fact that on the Islands after their transfer may appear American military facilities. Prime Minister Abe is only said that the Alliance between Tokyo and Washington in the interests of Russia and does not threaten its security. However, some safeguards have not yet been reported, although it is now in the US is the Advisor to the Japanese Prime Minister, Kazuyuki kawaii, which seems to discuss this issue with American officials.

He already stated in a speech in Washington that a peace Treaty between Moscow and Tokyo need and the United States, as it will be a tool to deter China’s ambitions. By the way, on Wednesday, the commander of U.S. forces in Japan, General Jerry Martinez told reporters that Washington was “currently” no plans to deploy troops to parts of the South Kuril Islands in case of its transition to Tokyo.

In any case, the impression that Prime Minister Abe is willing to abandon the age-old Japanese requirements “all return the four Northern Islands” and to sign a peace Treaty with Moscow on the basis of the provisions of 1956 with some comforting Supplement.

For example, in the form of a promise to continue and after this the debate about the fate of Russia is the largest and most inhabited Islands of Kunashir and Iturup or in the form of creating them is special economic area benefits for the Japanese — for example, with a visa-free regime.

This approach is generally supported, according to polls, most residents of Japan. They are the same, as evidenced by sociological research, is not too believe that the island really coming back. It’s hard to tell how convinced the Prime Minister Abe — because at the father’s grave he swore only “to make every effort” to achieve his cherished goal.