Japan, Russia face difficult road to peace treaty talks

By Noriyuki Suzuki

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If there's to be a peace treaty involving any kind of handover of any part of the Kurils, there has to be something in it for both parties. What kind of threat/promise/bribe can Abe make that would convince Russia to make any concessions? But then if the Russians are going to be totally hardline on this issue, why are they even in the talks in the first place?

Lt. Gen. Jerry Martinez, commander of U.S. Forces Japan, told a recent press conference that the United States has no plans to put U.S. troops on the islands "right now."

"Right now"? That must really reassure the Russians.

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So what's new?

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Russia is better off keeping its status quo. Any promise can be broken once you get what you want.

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Simply put, Russia wants to see Japan's security build up and intentions to back up Japan's claim to the islands. It knows very well that US has a vested interest in keeping Russia from direct access to the Pacific. Russia already along with China has access to the Arctic Ocean, now defrosted. That gives access to US territory in Alaska... another security risk that the US must consider.

Russia also knows that Japan can in fact use military force, since those islands by Japanese laws belong to Japan and any "invasion" can be defended by the self defense forces.

A power play..? or a distraction for Russia..?

The point is...since there was no peace treaty, both could fight it put for those islands and even more...

But that is highly unlikely...

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