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Painstaking path to peace

What did Vladimir Putin and Shinzo Abe agree on at a recent meeting

Painstaking path to peace
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The meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe continued on Tuesday for more than three hours. No one at the official or expert level expected any breakthroughs from these negotiations. Neither in Moscow nor in Tokyo.

Nevertheless, the talks that took place brought some clarity on the subject of further development of the Russian-Japanese dialogue. At a minimum, it will continue. Moreover, the very fact of the meeting between Putin and Abe can be assessed as tangible support to the negotiation process.

There is already a certainty that the negotiations will not be conducted at a forced pace. This made the Russian president quite clear when, following the meeting with the Japanese prime minister, he declared that the negotiation process would be painstaking. “Ahead of hard work to create the conditions for reaching a mutually acceptable solution (under a peace treaty),” Putin said.

The former Russian ambassador to Japan, now head of the department of diplomacy at MGIMO, Alexander Panov, previously suggested two possible options for the development of the negotiation process. "The recent statements of the Russian side (in mid-January in connection with the statements of Abe over the Kuril Islands), addressed to Tokyo, are much more rigid than the statements made at the end of last year. This can mean two things: either an attempt to raise the positions of inquiry on the eve of the summit, or to prepare the ground in order to abandon the forced solution of the peace treaty problem, "said Mr. Panov (quoted by Kommersant).

An assessment of the prospects for the negotiations, given by Putin, gives reason to believe that the choice was made on the second option.

There is no reason to hurry, neither Moscow nor Tokyo. The logic of the Russian side is clear. The Kuriles, which are of most interest to the Japanese, are Russian territory. And it is unshakable. Moreover, this Russian position is somehow forced to take into account in Tokyo, no matter how passionately there is speculation about the so-called "northern territories".

From the point of view of the logic of the negotiation process, it may not be entirely clear what real result Abe sees for himself. Nevertheless, the actions and statements of the Japanese prime minister and leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (approximately at the end of summer in Japan, elections to the upper house of parliament) are quite logical. His ambitions to go down in history as a politician capable of solving the problem of the "northern territories" are widely known. Abe even vowed to do this at the grave of his father, who at one time occupied the post of foreign minister of Japan. But he did it very carefully, saying that he would make all possible efforts.

Abe is a great master of ceremonies and rituals. The main thing for him now is his image in Japan: how the voters and the ruling class perceive him. In this regard, the head of the Cabinet of Ministers (he will hold this post for more than two years) looks quite convincing. Abe is an experienced politician, and to admit to the Japanese that it is impossible to get the Kuriles, in part or in whole, is tantamount to political suicide for him. Therefore, the prime minister is concentrating on showing ordinary Japanese "the whole beauty of the path" of the negotiation process.

The meeting yesterday with Putin has extremely important psychological implications for Abe, allowing him to maintain the reputation of a sophisticated politician and diplomat. Difficult relationships and negotiations, but what is the atmosphere of communication with Putin! Extremely benevolent, positive. Putin and Abe have long been "on ty". Most likely, the Prime Minister left Moscow in a good mood.

After statements from Moscow that Russia and Japan are far from partnerships, Putin yesterday gave a convincing background to the prospects for their development. For example, he said after talks about the desire to increase the volume of mutual trade to $ 30 billion - one and a half times higher than the current one.

Putin paid attention to the topic of joint economic development of the South Kuriles, which is of heightened interest. "We agreed to continue efforts to intensify joint economic activities in the South Kuril Islands in the five previously approved areas," the Russian president said. Speech, he recalled, is about aquaculture, creating greenhouses, wind power, tourism, recycling.


The Japanese consider the Kuriles to be theirs, including from a military-strategic point of view. "Particular attention (from Tokyo) is paid to the four South Kuril Islands, defined by the Japanese leadership, apparently the first object of expansion. Having them gives the key to Japanese-American control over the only non-freezing deep-water straits connecting the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of ​​Okhotsk," - Writes a member of the Academy of Military Sciences of the Russian Federation, the Japanese expert Vyacheslav Zimonin in his article "Northern Territories". The political scale of the cartographic aggression of Japan ", published in the recently published Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences 32-m collection of scientific articles" Actual problems of modern Japan. "

"In one of the 1996 release maps of the year and in the development of the Japanese military, published on the Internet 13 in January 2002, the authors generously left behind Russia one of the Kuril Islands, located at the southern tip of the Kamchatka Peninsula, obviously, Shumshu Island. In this situation, Russia would have only one pouring exit to the Pacific Ocean between Shumshu and Kamchatka, which does not ensure the safe passage of all classes of ships even in the summer, and is controlled by the armed forces of Japan, ”Zimonin notes.

At the same time, according to his assessment, it is very indicative that the map scheme with such designations of borders, published on the Internet, is placed in the section "Mission of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces," which, according to the Japanese, are already "de facto" full-fledged armed forces capable to conduct combat operations outside of Japanese territory. The corps of the Japanese marines is in the final stage of formation. Airborne troops from the Land of the Rising Sun already have, which should form the basis of the Rapid Deployment Forces of Japan.

A military construction, respectively, the path from the Self-Defense Forces to a full-fledged army, is part of the strategy of Abe. This is prevented only by article 9 of the Constitution of Japan, but the Prime Minister has his own plan, which is being worked out simultaneously with the negotiation process on preparing for a peace treaty with Russia.
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