In the current environment for Russia is becoming particularly urgent need to establish closer friendly relations with Japan. This will ensure the safety and stability of its Eastern borders, to solve some of the geopolitical problems associated with the development of the far East, as well as to obtain valuable economic and political partner. Unfortunately, the progressive development of bilateral relations between the two countries prevents the unresolved territorial dispute about the Kuril Islands, the military-strategic and socio-economic importance for Russia cannot be overstated.
This is not to forget that Japan is in some respects a "satellite" of the United States, as a result, the country has formed a stable negative image of Russia. Is it possible, therefore, to come to a compromise and make the Kuril Islands is not a divisive force, and the unifying factor of the two States? If Yes, then exercise is necessary in the near future, while the level of international tension has not reached its peak. As already noted, the current stage of development of international relations is characterized by the aggravation of contradictions between Russia and the United States.
The latter stands Japan, which has actively supported anti-Russian sanctions imposed in connection with the Ukrainian crisis. This policy of the Eastern neighbour caused a cooling of the already strained Russian-Japanese relations. What prevented the two countries from close economic, political and cultural relationships come to an agreement on the issue of the Kuril Islands and to conclude a peace Treaty? How to build a policy of their interactions in the current conditions? What is the role of the Kuril question in the current state of Russian-Japanese relations?
Search of answers to these questions involves an appeal to history and the examination of the evolution of relations between the two States. For half a century they were able to overcome the vast territory of Siberia and to reach the shores of the sea of Okhotsk.
One ship a week
In were opened on Kamchatka and the Kuril Islands, the development of which Russia and Japan began around the same time  , making the debate about their "aboriginal identity" is untenable. Until , when it was first installed a Russian-Japanese ties between the two countries, there was no formal border.
Both sides believed the Kuril Islands area of influence  , which negatively affect their relationships. From the Russian side has repeatedly received the proposal to conclude a diplomatic agreement, which Japan rejected. Changes occurred only in conditions bad for the Russian Empire the Crimean war caused considerable damage to its image in the international arena and forced to go to the change of geopolitical course: the goal became the expansion of influence in northeast Asia.
He was proclaimed "eternal peace" between the two countries, which, however, was soon violated. In the second article of the Treaty stated: "Henceforth the boundaries between Russia and Japan will pass between you Iturup and Urup. The whole island of Iturup belongs to Japan and the whole island Urup and the other Kuril Islands to the North constitute the possession of Russia" .
It is around these Islands subsequently broke the Russian-Japanese dispute. It should be noted that the Treatise does not specify the status of Sakhalin, and, although it is expected the joint Russian-Japanese administration of the island, this fact has led to many conflicts. In it was decided to conclude another Treaty of St. Petersburg, in which Japan renounced claims to Sakhalin island in Russia's favor, receiving from her in return the Kuril Islands.
In the beginning of XX century, which was the beginning of the imperialist division of the world, the conflict between Russia and Japan escalated. Began the Russo-Japanese war , which Japan sought to deprive Russia of influence in the Pacific region . The result of the war was the conclusion of Portsmouth peace under which Russia was obliged to surrender the southern part of Sakhalin in the "eternal and complete possession"  Japan.
Such a requirement conflicted with the provisions of the St.
Petersburg Treaty and, therefore, such step sides tacitly stated that all previous agreements are void after the war. Therefore, when considering the Kuril Islands, the appeals to the treaties of the first half of XX century should be considered not legally justified. Not less important is the consideration of relations between the two States after the Second world war. In , faced with the need of normalization of the international situation, especially against States-aggressors.
To address issues post-war situation of Japan was created by the Federal government and the far Eastern Committee composed of 11 countries. In January issued a Memorandum commander for the allied powers of the Japanese Imperial government. According to him, "Japan is defined in the composition: the four main Islands of Japan Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku and approximately 1, smaller adjacent Islands, including the Islands of Tsushima and Islands of Ryukyu Nansei " .
In item "c" indicated that the area of the Kuril Islands is excluded from the part of Japan . Thus, thanks to the Memorandum of the Soviet Union failed to resolve a number of the most important tasks of the geopolitics — the return of southern Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands .
Kuril islands dispute
At that time, the peace Treaty between the victorious powers and Japan had not yet signed. The question of the Kuril Islands, the U. Its provisions were drafted in such a way that left the Japanese leadership the opportunity to appeal the ownership of Islands. From this time began the tortuous history of attempts to establish peaceful relations between the USSR and its successor the Russian Federation and Japan.
In the second half of the XX century, the Soviet Union has repeatedly taken steps towards the restoration of diplomatic relations with Japan. Thus, in accordance with the Moscow Declaration of October 19, , all hostilities ceased. As a gesture of goodwill, the Soviet Union agreed to "transfer to Japan the Habomai Islands and Shikotan island"  , but only with the condition of signing a peace Treaty.
However, peace talks have not been initiated because of US intervention. Pushing hard on Japan, they gave an ultimatum that if Japan agrees to transfer only two Islands by the Soviet Union, the United States will deprive it occupied the island of Okinawa and the Ryukyu archipelago. Thus, the negotiations stalled and the dialogue between the two countries was interrupted.
Kuril islands dispute — RT
In the s saw the growth of political and economic power of Japan, which, anticipating the possibility of territorial concessions from the weakening of the Soviet Union, took a course of rapprochement with the neighbor. The parties signed several declarations, which, however, failed to defuse longstanding tensions. Since the end of last century and till the present time, the Japanese government actively promotes the idea of the return of the Northern territories that's what the Japanese call the Kuril Islands.
No deal could be finalized under such a coercive arrangement. The US adopted the role of guarantor of Japanese security and laid the foundations for continued American military presence in the Pacific. An angered Moscow reacted by rescinding any agreements previously made to transfer Habomai and Shikotan to Japanese jurisdiction.
World War II
This position would stand as long as foreign military installations and forces operated on Japanese territory. The influence of the United States foreshadows the stumbling blocks to a Russo-Japanese deal today. Many variables that hindered a resolution to the Kuril Islands dispute remain at the center of contemporary diplomatic hurdles. Japan demands that questions over sovereignty must be addressed prior to any discussions of land exchange. Abe firmly stated this sentiment after the offer he made in Vladivostok in September.
Tokyo brings a historical geographic case, while Moscow argues that the islands were absorbed into Russian territory as part of its wartime operations and postwar agreements. Matters of sovereignty must be resolved.
However, a more pressing query must be handled first: Which components of the Pacific security framework are up for negotiation in a state of geopolitical mistrust between Russia and the United States? Both countries find themselves in a situation where neither will wholly achieve its desired objectives. Abe stated that he is determined to facilitate negotiations on a peace treaty when he meets with Putin.
This is a positive and conciliatory development in solving the historic disagreement, however, it assumes that Russia would relinquish its claims to sovereignty over the islands before effective negotiations are complete. Nevertheless, Japan must negotiate under the influence of its close relationship and security pact with the United States.
Putin recently asserted that US military involvement in Japan complicates any forthcoming agreement and expressed his concerns over the strategic use of an American air defense system in Japan. Abe contends that a Kuril Islands peace treaty would have a positive overall effect on the security framework of the Asia-Pacific region, which would be most beneficial to the United States.
While this sounds advantageous to the Japanese public and officials in Washington, it does little to stimulate concessions from Moscow. Russia will be steadfast in its demands that the exchanged territories be exempt from the US-Japan security treaty, and that Habomai and Shikotan are off-limits to military development. This would see a continuance of rhetoric like that in Eastern Europe, where Moscow voices its displeasure of US military installations in bordering states. Map showing the disputed Kuril islands pic. As a result, Japanese concessions to Russian demands are unlikely when their guarantor of security is the United States.
Mutual mistrust between Washington and Moscow under the shadow of the current geopolitical atmosphere means that Tokyo is in a difficult position to negotiate freely.
Abe can speak optimistically about the security advantages in store for America. Not only is this unlikely, but it would extend the diplomatic effort needed to settle the Kuril Islands stalemate in its entirety. Russia must also negotiate carefully. Recent precedents, such as the transfer of Tarabarov Island and a part of Bolshoy Ussuriysky Island to China in demonstrate that Moscow is capable of settling decades-old land claims.
It was during this timeframe that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov subsequently extended an offer to exchange small islands in the Kuril chain for a peace treaty with Japan. Some commentators believe Putin might be ready to share control of the Kurils if Japan agrees to a set of tough demands, including the lifting of sanctions against Russia and a pledge to block any US military deployment on the islands.
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