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TBS clarifies Mino Monta’s remark that Japan should buy back Northern Territories

28 Comments

Representatives from television broadcaster TBS say that Mino Monta’s remark concerning the Northern Territories made during his morning program “Mino Monta’s Asazuba!” was inappropriate but was made in jest.

Monta, 64, was discussing the Russian president’s upcoming visit to Japan in May and the depressed state of the Russian economy, when he quipped to one of the panelists that Japan should offer to buy back the four islands. None of the panelists replied and all of them kept their heads down. The islands are currently under Russian administration but Japan claims them as its own.

TBS said that they didn’t receive any phone calls or emails concerning the remark.

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Mino Monta had better live to be a centenarian if he wants to see the Kurile Islands returned to Japanese control. It won't happen in Vladimir Putin's lifetime, and it also won't happen until Russia mines the islands for their mineral wealth. Even then, it would cost Japan a pretty penny to regain possession of them.

Honestly, I can't see it, especially when Japan has lived more than a half century in a dreamy peaceland, while expecting the U.S. to protect the country.

Not to worry, though, as Japan can keep making maps that show the Kuriles as Japanese territory.

The Kuriles belong to Russia, Takeshima is Korean territory, and China will take what it wants from the East China Sea, so Japan had better console itself with building up the Okinotori Tetrapods to expand its EEZ.

It is high time for Mino Monta to retire anyway-move up the date.

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grafton That's a nice little analogy. Consider this... what if the Japanese had just signed the damned peace treaty with the former Soviet Union to end the war? Might not the Kuriles be back in Japans hands? I'm not really well versed on pre-soviet territory/geography, but wasn't like Byelorussia, the Ukraine, Georgia, etc... weren't these part of Russia? They got theirs after the collapse, Japan would have in all likelihood gotten the islands as well.

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CoolCali at 05:18 AM JST - 9th April

I see how you are reasoning but no, it wouldn’t have gone down that way, the USSR was really after Hokkaido & there was no way Japan (or the US) was going to let that happen. Also you have to remember that Japan & the USSR had a peace agreement in place which the USSR broke by going to war with Japan. The two atomic bombs may have pushed Japan to the brink of surrender but the USSR entering the war in the last days was what really got them to agree to surrender, they knew there was no way they could hold out & they were faced with the prospect of losing Hokkaido. Also the USSR took the islands AFTER the surrender not before. So in effect they took them not from Japan but from the allies who were then technically occupying Japan. Japan has no reason to sign an agreement with Russia (now the USSR has gone) because the Russians are breaking international law being on those islands. Having said that I don’t see anybody doing much about it. The UN? With Russia having a veto?

Moderator: Readers, the subject is Mino Monta's comments.

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Personally, I think the remark is quite amusing....

I remember the fuss that MoFA made when the institute where I used to work produced a publication containing a map of Northeast Asia that showed the Kuriles as Russian territory (the same colour as Russia was on the map). We ended up having to get stickers printed up showing the Kuriles in white (i.e. not the same colour as any of the other countries), and then sent them out to all the recipients of the publication so they could stick them over the offending map, if they wanted. Presumably the Russian recipients didn't bother....

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did he clarify the remarks himself or did TBS clarify them for him?

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TBS said that they didn’t receive any phone calls or emails concerning the remark.

So to get attention TBS put this in the news for click business?

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1) News stories debated on the old JT and this one for the past several years have made it abundantly clear that Russia will not give up the Kuriles (Northern Territories) for various reasons, including the rich mineral resources that Russia is giving contracts to Russian-owned companies to extract. I pointed this out in the first part of my post.

2) Japan has lived in "heiwa boke" much too long. Russia, Korea and China view any strong-sounding statements about disputed territories by Japan as idle threats at best. And part of this is due to Japan's insistence on having it every which convenient way at the time with its constitution, #9, the SDF, etc. Only when Japan is truly willing to take responsibility for all facets of its defense and foreign affairs will its neighbors take it seriously outside of the economic realm. I pointed this out as well.

3) The Kuriles (Northern Territories) DO belong to Russia at present, Takeshima (Dokdo) is a Korean possession, and the Chinese will take the lion's share of the oil/gas from the disputed areas of the East China Sea in my opinion, regardless of Japan's wishful thinking to the contrary about "agreements" last year.

And I further think Japan is stretching international law to the breaking point with its actions on Okinotori Rocks, and many reasonable arguments to support my assertion have been made in newspapers and elsewhere.

4) I think Mino Monta became too big for britches a number of years ago, and it's not just his job on "Omoikkiri TV" that needs to go. Mino Monta may sincerely believe that Japan should buy the islands back from Russia. As he is entitled to his opinion on this matter and others, so am I.

Japan will not regain possession of the Kuriles (Northern Territories) for the foreseeable future. PERIOD.

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None of the panelists replied and all of them kept their heads down

classic Japanese response to anything controversial

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None of the panelists replied and all of them kept their heads down

Not just a Japanese reaction. When S hits the F, it is human nature to duck.

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If no one called in or email to complain, then why is JT making an article out of this? Mino Monta dared to speak out on a subject that has been a sensitive issues since post war years and he gets blasted for it. I kinda like his guts to do so. You go Mino!

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In the mind of the average TV viewer, Mino Monta is "famous," and that automatically makes him an authority who is qualified to solve all the world's problems.

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he's only 64, thought he was 90something

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what? a tarento who isn't finely versed in the intricacies of international politics? whodathunkit!

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The Kuriles belong to Russia, Takeshima is Korean territory, and China will take what it wants from the East China Sea

So you're expert the when it comes to territorial issues in world history then are you ? All of the above-quoted (and with anti-Japanese sentiment) territories that you have mentioned are just the same as trying to prove that Australia now belongs to the white immigrants, the Falkland Islands belong to the UK and part of the Cuban Islands belong to the US. There may be an argument for the Koreans to claim Takeshima. But the Russians stole the Northern Territories by sneaking in at the end of the Second World War and they have no rightful claim to them, other than they had much bigger guns at the time.

Moderator: Readers, posts that do not refer to Monta's remarks will be removed. References to other territorial disputes are, of course, irrelevant.

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They put their heads down. They would make a great jury.

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This is the second time in the last month that a public figure in Japan has "joked" about buying foreign territory (Ichiro Ozawa said the same about Jeju Island, given the strength of the Japanese yen vis-a-vis the Korean won). Do elitist Japanese think this is funny? Or is it a sign of an emasculated nation that can only express power projection in terms of yen?

I seriously doubt Mino Monta would've said something like this last year, when Russia was flying high with oil at nearly $150 a barrel. Yet another example of a public figure in Japan turning arrogant and presumptuous when a perceived rival looks weak. I guess you could call it "selective modesty."

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TBS said that they didn’t receive any phone calls or emails concerning the remark.

because it makes perfect sense.

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If these four islands are gong to be returned to somebody, theyshould be given back to the Ainu, who lived there for centuries before the Japanese came along. Is this another of those "we stole them fair and square" gambits?

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The Russians many years ago did sell Alaska to the USA so this is not beyond the realm of possibility, although not very likely in todays world!

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Atually Mino is quite realistic. There is no other possible way to get the islands except buying them. Russia offered to Japan to divide the islands between each other several years ago, but Jn refused.

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So what's the big deal? Monta stated that the islands should be purchased. What's wrong with that? In a financial transaction both parties benefit. It's not like he suggesting invading and occupying.

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If these four islands are gong to be returned to somebody, theyshould be >given back to the Ainu, who lived there for centuries before the >Japanese came along.

And before that there were people of the Ohotsk culture who inhabited them centuries before the Ainu. How far back do you want to take this?

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Mino Monta himself should buy the islands back! Apparently with all of his TV appearances and radio shows he was pulling in about 600 million yen a year for god knows how many years (that's more than the emperor gets!). Unless he's been drinking and partying it all away, he's easily one of the richest people in Japan.

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TBS said that they didn’t receive any phone calls or emails concerning the remark.

I just called them but they didn't speak English.

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Buy back the islands! -or you must wait for the next war.

-buying them back is cheaper. Start raising the funds publically now and hopefully the oil prices keep falling. Goal 1yr.

It can be done and in a recession people need goals.

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And before that there were people of the Ohotsk culture who inhabited them centuries before the Ainu. How far back do you want to take this?

Looks like we Ainu will be the ones taking up the "we stole them fair and square" gambit then!

(Still, I don't know much about the Ainu forcibly taking anything from any of the people who lived there before them -- the Ainu were never much militarily. Could be wrong though.)

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Isn't he the embassador for tokyo olympic commitee ?

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I suppose it was "inappropriate" because just like the Fuji presenter who implied that Sumo is sometimes fixed (which anyone with a knowledge of Japanese culture and a basic understanding of statistics would conclude that it is) he was verging into a controversial area. Frankly, it's a good idea - a bit like when the U.S. bought Alaska from Russia. Reason for the controversy? It would be like admitting defeat on a matter of principle. Nationalists don't want that - and could Japanese diplomats ever negotiate a face-saving deal, even if Russia was interested? Probably not

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