politics

Abe says summit with Putin needed to resolve territorial row

47 Comments
By ELAINE KURTENBACH

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

47 Comments
Login to comment

Like a broken record. Still waiting for the so-called third arrow.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Wishful thinking, but Russia will keep the islands as war bootie. And that is the way it should be.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

But without a summit meeting this Northern Territories problem cannot be resolved,” Abe said.

I think calling it the "Northern Territories" might be why the problem hasn't been resolved.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

"Several tentative plans for a visit by Putin to Japan have been put off due to western concerns over Russia’s involvement in such crises."

Why is Japan being dictated to by Neocons like Nuland and Kagan? (A husband and wife team of US war mongers). Their interests are not Japan's. Get a frikkin' backbone.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

If the Senkakus belong to Japan because Japan occupied them, the Kuriles belong to Russia because Russia has occupied them. Japan's right wing including Abe have justified Russia's claim to the island.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Suppose the islands are returned to Japan, who want to live there? Nobody but some fishemen.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

why would Russia want to return them, Japan will need to give some very substantial political and financial gains to Russia for them to even consider returning them, it just depends how badly Japan wants them back, your move Japan

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Suppose the islands are returned to Japan, who want to live there? Nobody but some fishemen.

It will do well with retirees and their wives for a 3-4 day package tour.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The Japanese government has always rejected the idea of taking control of just two of the islands: it wants all of the islands. Such intransigence is one reason why "negotiations" with Russia are a waste of time. The Japanese stance leaves nothing to negotiate.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@schopenhauer

Suppose the islands are returned to Japan, who want to live there? Nobody but some fishermen

Implying that fishermen are irrelevant?

I know at least a dozen families who still technically own land in the NT. Some are Japanese, who would love the chance to return and restart the family farm. Others are Ainu, who would also love the chance to return and restart in their ancestral lands.

But hey, they don't matter, do they?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Russia better act, soon all of Japans energy needs will be supplied by America. They can export energy again. It will come from Alaska.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

@ Kaiyou+ Realist.. Maybe Japan needs some introspection. We hold no brief for Japan's neighbors. People of conscion need no proding, they will call out evil anytime ,wherever, whenever and whoever it is. The determining factor is the most basic of the moral question, is it right or wrong? something that Japan, more often that not, can't seem to want to countenance, but,choose to do what pleases the Japanese, usually to the detriment of others.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Better japan gets the islands than Russia, though it will be costly.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

2 chances of getting those islands back. Get real, why would Russuia do it any way. There is nothing in it for Russia to give up/back anything. Japan alreay trades with Russia for coal and fishing rights etc. Abe is picking this infected sore to score a few votes and support a decreasing population of displaced Japanesemain land people that were put there before the war.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Go Japan.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

If Japan is serious about recovering the northern Islands, then it will have to be by force! You already have thousands of Russians living there!! They have the land mass of two Americas for the same population as Japan! Yet they still had to attack Ukraine and Illegally occupy Crimea! We have the same problem in the Arctic, where Russia is justifying taking half the continent to themselves! and no one is doing anything about it! We need a strong military not only to defend against North Korea or an aggressive China, but against our old enemy who wanted to conquer Asia, including taking Korea like they've done before!! Many people tend to forget that Japan fought a large war against Russia to push them out of Korea! Will have to do the same with these islands, and the Arctic! In the future it will be about the moon and Mars! Will we stand up for anything? Have any rights at any point? It seems like the strong make the rules! While the weak have to apologize and give compensation!! Have you seen America or Britain, Russia apologize or give compensation?!?

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Russia will never give back those islands. Russians never give back territories they own, Abe should take a look at Crimea. Those islands are the price Japan has to pay for its aggressive past. They will remain Russian, there is nothing to discuss here.

Anyway, what would Japanese do on those islands? I already imagine Seven Eleven and pachinko everywhere, some adult related businesses with Russian ladies, roads leading nowhere, Lawson, and Family Mart too, still some underworld businesses and some convenience stores, also some NOVA schools. They will turn the place ugly like hell.

“But without a summit meeting this Northern Territories problem cannot be resolved,” Abe said.

There is no Northern Territories problem just like there is no Senkaku problem if we want to use the Japanese rhetoric.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Sorry Japan your on the short end of the stick on this one. I mean just imagine if Japan won WWII(perish the thought!!).

How much land would you be returning..............there is your answer.

Japan needs to give up on this one, not going to happen by negotiation

8 ( +10 / -2 )

The issue Russia has is that China has undeclared designs on much of Russia east of Lake Baikal. East of Baikal Russia is very sparsely populated. Show weakness by giving Japan some islands, and risk Chinese territorial demands.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

One has to wonder what the status of the current residents of those islands would be if they were to revert to Japanese sovereinty - would they be given the same treatment as Koreans brought here during the war, would they become foreign residents in their own land, or some other status? In any event, Russia has little incentive to return them, given fishing, mineral, oil exploration and other rights that extend from their shores.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Sex slaves, disputed islands. Japan sure is busy dealing with its neighbors.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

tokyobakayaro

Aggressiveness against the Soviet Union?

There was a non-aggression treaty between Japan and the Soviet Union in which USSR was able to focus on the Western front against the Germans without fear of being attacked from the rear. The Russians should be thankful towards Japan for upholding that treaty.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

“But without a summit meeting this Northern Territories problem cannot be resolved,” Abe said.

Sorry Skippy but it has been resolved, it is Russian territory. You're better off focusing on finding solutions to real problems affecting Japan. But we all know Abe will just use nationalist issues to look like Mr. Tough Guy, but end up looking the fool each time.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

@realist

It is an entirely different situation from that of the Senkaku Islands, which were claimed by Japan in 1895 as unoccupied territory with no objections from any country, including China

Japan had just defeated China in a war, so while it is a bit different (in that Russia didn't inflict defeat upon Japan in a one-on-one war as Japan did to China in 1895) I don't think you can say its entirely different. The main point being that in both cases the islands were seen as the spoils of war by the country that took control of them.

Before you label me a "Japan hater" (which would be a lazy ad hominem attack), I am of the opinion that it was wrong for Russia to take these islands and that Japan has the historical "right". However, there are 10,000 people living on those islands today and I also think that the only opinions that really matter are theirs. Hence the two inhabited islands ought to remain Russian - if Japan can get the other two back, that's as good as they'll ever get from Russia and Abe would be well-advised to do it if possible.

This would allow for the establishment of regular public transport from Hokkaido to Kunashiri and Eterofu, which would make it far easier than it is at present for the descendants of former Japanese inhabitants of those islands to visit them - again, an improvement over the current situation which is probably as much as could be hoped for.

I've seen Kunashiri from Shiretoko. It's a very remote place and few Japanese would want to actually go and live there even if they could. Putin is a nasty piece of work, but Abe should do this deal with him if it's still on offer.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The islands are Russian, plain and simple. At BEST, with some SERIOUS concessions to Russia, they might again be offered TWO of the islands back, maximum, but that is all, and the right-wingers here would never stand for it.

I think this is just more desperation because Abe has completely failed on delivering his main goal, which was the economy, and elections are coming up. So, he's "settling" the sex-slave issue while really doing nothing about it, and now I bet you he'll offer some equally vague, non-binding 'promises' to get some islands back in order to make himself look better going into the elections. Next he'll be talking about the North Korean abductee issue. I bet they'll offer Russia heaps of things, with Putin suggesting they might be able to gradually give one or two islands back, and Abe will accept, with right-wingers later saying, "The deal was contingent on NOTHING LESS than all four islands being returned, or no money! And the money and contracts are not for the islands back -- they are Japanese islands and always have been -- they are for just putting the past behind us," etc.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Great photo. Dwarfed by a bonsai: A perfect metaphor for Abe's diplomatic clout

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@AlexBec"Yet they still had to attack Ukraine and illegally occupy Crimea!"

What a load of nonsense !

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

However, there are 10,000 people living on those islands today and I also think that the only opinions that really matter are theirs

Russia does not care about their opinion; it only cares about its safety. Russia perfectly knows that Japan will listen to its master’s voice and lease a good part of the islands to the US military that will be more than happy to watch Russia from one those islands when the weather is fine. Japan would lease land to Amurika and install those big antennas to monitor Russia. Russia does not trust Westerners nor Japan.

Back in 1989 when Russian did not respond to the Berlin Wall fall it is because Europeans, USA and NATO promised to the USSR that Eastern Europe countries will never join NATO, the promise was broken. They joined NATO.

There is no way to get those islands back even with all those money Japan has in its banks.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

In 1956, Russia proposed returning the two islands closest to Japan, a deal Japan rejected, in part because the two islands represent only 7% of the land in question. Since then, the dispute has remained unresolved. Putin indicated in 2004 that the offer of a return of the two southernmost islands was still on the table, but showed no signs of relinquishing the two larger islands. Natural resources are part of the reason. The Kurile islands are surrounded by rich fishing grounds and are thought to have offshore reserves of oil and gas.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Radar station? Big antennas to monitor Russia?

Get over it, the US already have those in Misawa station Aomori. No use having those so close to one another.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Back in 1989 when Russian did not respond to the Berlin Wall fall it is because Europeans, USA and NATO promised to the USSR that Eastern Europe countries will never join NATO, the promise was broken. They joined NATO

Not true. Such a promise was never included in any treaties. If it was, please show me where and I will stand corrected (but you're going to have to do better than quoting the opinion of a Russian politician). Given recent events in Ukraine, it was obviously a smart move to join NATO for the former Soviet / Warsaw Pact territories that have done so.

That said, I take your point about Russian concerns that returning any of the islands would result in US installations on them; an agreement not to do this would presumably be included in any treaty between Russia and Japan. In any case, as Triring has pointed out just above, the US already has the installations it wants in the area.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Russia keep the Northern Territories; US keep (part of) Okinawa.

That's the consequences of losing the war.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Given recent events in Ukraine, it was obviously a smart move to join NATO for the former Soviet / Warsaw Pact territories that have done so.

A democratically elected leader of Ukraine that was overthrown by a Western backed putsch. The country has experienced a civil war due to Western meddling reminiscent of the Cold War.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Putin has been hellbent on reviving the Cold War since he got his hands on the reigns (with able assistance from George W for a few years); the former Soviet territories that have joined NATO are in a much less precarious position than those that have not. None of which has anything to do with the relationship between Japan and Russia, unless you want to say that Russia's paranoia is the reason they won't give any territory back to Japan; I personally hope they can find their way to a deal over the Kurils despite their concerns over US forces in Japan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japan his no trump cards at all so the best Shin chan can hope for is Putin taking pitty and offering the same 2 they offered before.... Abe would get real lucky if that happened.

"Go Japan "... It is going... Down the drain, and has been for quite a while.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Yoshitsune "Not true".

True. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union Russians were trying to follow western directions, up to Putin's time. And they were always bad in western eyes. Even fighting radical islamists and international terrorists in Chechnya, Russians were bad for the West. Finally they have started to move by independent political course.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If Russia does not return any of the islands, then they can forget about better relations with Japan and the much-needed Japanese investment in the Russian far-east

0 ( +1 / -1 )

No nationalist offers up territory that they control. Not if they have a choice. And Putin has a choice. And he is not stupid.

Abe can have a summit and dialogue all he wants. But the answer will still be Nyet.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@yamashi

As I said to the poster who made the original claim, it is not true. If it is true - if NATO promised that it wouldn't accept applications from any former Soviet / Warsaw Pact territories - please show me the treaty in which it did so and I will stand corrected (and no, if you just show me a quote of an opinion expressed by Gorbachev, that will not pass muster)

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

James Brown provides a brutally blunt appraisal of current developments leaving little room for doubt. Add to this President Putin is dishonorable, proven untrustworthy, and fundamentally dishonest. Putin has sacrificed his country's economy and subsequently basic living standards of ordinary Russian people for his reckless foreign policy.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe top priority must be J economy, the Government of China aggressive territorial ambitions' along with Beijing fast declining financial and manufacturing sectors.

Southern Kuril Islands: New Developments in the Territorial Dispute between Russia And Japan......- James D.J. Brown is Assistant Professor in Political Science at Temple University, Japan Campus

http://www.globalresearch.ca/southern-kuril-islands-new-developments-in-the-territorial-dispute-between-russia-and-japan/5478062

Russia's economy keeps getting smaller -

http://money.cnn.com/2015/11/12/news/economy/russia-economy-gdp-q3/

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Yoshitsune

Not true. Such a promise was never included in any treaties. If it was, please show me where and I will stand corrected

Der Spiegel, a very serious German weekly news magazine made an interesting investigation about those Russians claims that West betrayed them. Quoting Der Spiegel:

After speaking with many of those involved and examining previously classified British and German documents in detail, SPIEGEL has concluded that there was no doubt that the West did everything it could to give the Soviets the impression that NATO membership was out of the question for countries like Poland, Hungary or Czechoslovakia.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/nato-s-eastward-expansion-did-the-west-break-its-promise-to-moscow-a-663315.html

Now speaking about Japanese claims on those Russian islands there is absolutely no doubt that Russia will never give back a war chest. They exactly know what will happen with those islands and the US military in Japan (closer is better). Japan can make all promises it wants, Russians know that important stuff in Japan are decided by the White House and the Pentagon not at the Kantei (Japan Prime Minister's Official Residence). We all know that America is addicted to spying that it would do anything to get closer to Russia than it is now.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I've read that Der Spiegel report. As interesting as it is, it isn't evidence of any promise. There was no treaty which stated that former Soviet territories would not be accepted into NATO. Some of them later chose to apply and were accepted. That is their prerogative. All these myths from Russia about broken NATO promises is just part of their efforts to create a siege mentality. And yes, you are right that not giving any islands back to Japan would be consistent with their siege mentality / paranoia, but I'm still hoping that an agreement can be reached - mostly because it would benefit the Russian islanders there today as well as the descendants of the former Japanese islanders.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Yoshitsune"There was no treaty".

If westerners have no desire to keep their promises, given to political leaders, who needs treaty at all ?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The point of a treaty is that it is a formal commitment, and if it is later broken by any party there is proof and a legal basis to accuse them of reneging. If it was so crucial to prevent Warsaw Pact and former Soviet territories from joining NATO in future, Russia should have sought a written treaty. It didn't, so there is isn't, so the whining about broken promises has no sound basis. It's a myth to create a siege mentality in Russia. On the other hand, I believe Russia did sign a treaty promising to respect the territorial integrity of former Soviet Republics... which it has broken, proving to its former underlings the value in joining NATO. And of course the four islands taken from Japan were also taken in violation of a treaty between the USSR and Japan, so you can stop complaining about broken NATO promises in Europe and perhaps instead try to explain your position regarding Kunashiri, Eterofu, Shikotan and Habomai without resorting to whataboutery.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

There's a solution Northern territory population claimed by japanese peoples so russia must not demand any right on northen territory.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Russia has offered 2 islands, perhaps Abe wants to accept that offer?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"As long as this region is resource rich, and as long as it lies within our reach, it is an integral part of our territory" -this is what Japan and Russia are probably all thinking. If it was a lump island of sand sticking in some "dead sea water" kind of location, none of these nations would have put so much emphasis on the ownership of these islands, PERIOD! Therefore, there will be no agreement, PERIOD!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites