The Kuril Islands: cooperation in the economy — the basis for building trust

With regard to the signing of the peace Treaty, published after the Russian-Japanese summit, the Declaration States only that the joint economic activity is an important step towards signing of a peace agreement. The presidents of both countries was confined to those that have expressed a serious intention to resolve this issue. The results of the meeting depressing: Putin and Abe confirmed even Soviet-Japanese Declaration of 1956. Progress on the territorial issue zero.

I think in the last few years the Abe administration has painted a picture of yourself: first, to reach agreement on the return of Habomai Islands and Shikotan, and then to deepen a relationship of trust and determined that the remaining Kunashir and Iturup belongs to Japan, then to sign a peace Treaty. However, the achievements in this time agreement means that Russia’s starting point is that it does not return any of the Islands; that the basic premise is strengthening trusting relationship. This differs from the position of the administration, Abe. The deepening of trust was a priority return of two Islands. Japan miscalculated, however, most likely, no other way.

Prime Minister Abe took a hard look at the current situation and proposed a plan for economic cooperation of eight items, and also expressed readiness to start negotiations on joint economic activities on the four Islands in order to strengthen the trust relationship between the two countries. Some experts criticize the government for fear of fraud on the part of Russia, but it is wrong. These projects will benefit both countries. The relationship will develop only through the strengthening of economic cooperation.

In addition, as noted by the President Putin during a press conference in order to resolve the problem of “Northern territories” that Russia must be sure that when you return to the Islands will not be American military bases. Otherwise, between Russia and Japan will not trust relationships in the field of security.

This requires understanding and support from allies Japan, the United States. The Japanese government needs to negotiate with Washington, which returned to the island of the us-Japan security agreement will be distributed, however, Japan will not provide U.S. military installations.

It is difficult to judge the progress in the relationship with Russia. However, even if it takes time, it is important to take the first step towards creating an open structure to resolve the problem. To do this, in the subsequent negotiations necessary to waive requirements to return all four Islands at once.

First of all, it is necessary to deepen mutual trust, developing cooperation on the basis of economic power of Japan. Simultaneously it is necessary to achieve understanding from the United States, skillfully using diplomatic skills. Perhaps this will lead to the fact that the first signed a Treaty of friendship and cooperation, which will promote the return of the two Islands of Shikotan and Habomai.
If Russia will return to these two Islands, the trust will begin to strengthen even more rapid pace. With the gradual forward movement appears the prospects for the return of Kunashir and Iturup.

Japan needs to move step by step, using its economic potential and diplomatic options. That is what is thorny and long way to conclude a peace agreement.