politics

Putin, Abe agree 'no winners or losers' in island row: Kremlin

18 Comments

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday agreed that the solution to the two countries' nearly 70-year-old bilateral island dispute lies on the principle of a draw.

Abe and Putin, who talked on the sidelines of the G20 summit of world leaders in St Petersburg, "very briefly but pointedly discussed the issue of a peace agreement between Russia and Japan," Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

"Both sides expressed an understanding that the solution to the problem of the peace agreement can only be based on the principle that there are no victors or losers," he said.

"That is called hikiwake in Japanese, and Putin, as a judoist, is familiar with the expression," he said, referring to the sports term that means a tie or draw.

Abe and Putin "agreed" that hikiwake is "the principle that one needs to use to approach the problem," said Peskov.

Russia and Japan have never signed a World War II peace treaty after the war ended because of the disputed status of the four southern Kuril Islands that the Soviet Red Army took in 1945 but Tokyo still claims.

Relations between Moscow and Tokyo have been strained for decades because of the islands, which the previous president Dmitry Medvedev visited to Japan's fury.

The Kuril islands extend in a chain from Russia's Kamchatka peninsula separating the Pacific Ocean from the Sea of Japan and are part of Russia's Far Eastern Sakhalin region.

The southernmost four in the archipelago are called Kunashir, Iturup, Shikotan, and Habomai.

In April, Putin and Abe pledged to renew efforts to find a solution to regulate the row.

Putin and Abe met for the third time this year and will meet again in about two months at the Asia-Pacific Economic Summit, Peskov said, praising business ties between the countries and calling the talks "very fruitful."

© (C) 2013 AFP

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

18 Comments
Login to comment

Perhaps it will be 2 islands for Russia and 2 for Japan. With all of these bad things happening in the USA a peace treaty will be a very good thing.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japan must be fooling itself if they think Russia will give them anything. Russia promised to give back Shikotan and Habomai but backed out of the deal. This proves that Russia can not be trusted

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Jay Wilson

Russia promised to give back Shikotan and Habomai but backed out of the deal. This proves that Russia can not be trusted

No Japan was advised sternly not to accept by the US during the height of the cold war.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

SamuraiBlue

No Japan was advised sternly not to accept by the US during the height of the cold war.

Russia backed out of the 1956 deal to return Shikotan and Habomai, which it was legally required to do, because Japan signed the security alliance with the United States. Now all Russia wants Japan to do is throw money away on the islands in the hopes that Moscow will return the two they offers in 1956 but then backed out of

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Jay Wilson

"There was another reason that Japan decided not to settle the territorial dispute and reach a peace treaty in 1956. The United States had interceded forcefully to prevent such agreement, once the Soviet Union had made its concession and it appeared that Japan might accede to the compromise. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, in a discussion with Foreign Minister Shigemitsu on August 19, had replied to a query as to the juridical effect of a Japanese acknowledgment of Soviet sovereignty over the Kuril Islands by threatening in that case to revoke the earlier American acknowledgment of Japanese residual sovereignty over Okinawa and Ryukyu Islands.""Northern territories" and beyond: Russian, Japanese, and American perspectives (James E. Goodby, Vladimir I. Ivanov, Nobuo Shimotomai)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The Soviet Union was willing in 1956 to hand over to Japan the two tiny islands just off Hokkaido, but Japan’s claims to two larger islands, Kunashir and Iturup, were left unaddressed. This would result in a peace treaty under which Shikotan and Habomai, basically a collection of rocks would be handed over to Japan. The two island territories represents only 7 percent of the area claimed by Japan. Not surprisingly, there were no takers in Japan.

Other informal ideas been discussed over the years changed the percentages but not the underlying framework. One plan would have been to transfer three of the four southern islands (Habomai, Shikotan, and Kunashir) to give Japan 37 percent of the total area. Another idea was a 50–50 split, perhaps modeled on the 2004 border settlement between Russia and China, which would give Japan the three southern islands plus a portion of the biggest island, Iturup.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

So, Abe and Putin making nicey-nice. Interesting. I see the upside for Putin. Don't see it for Abe.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Of course Russia would say there are no winners and no losers - they control the islands.

Now, if Japan tells China that there are no winners and no losers on their island dispute, what do you think China will say?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

lostrune2

Russia was the winner in terms of the northern territory since they acquired it through force which was originally Japan's sovereign territory which was negotiated with Russia in the mid 18th century in exchange for Sakhalin so returning half after controlling it for more than 50 years would be considered draw for them. On the other hand PRC never controlled Senkaku and was always under administrative control of Japan as sovereign territory so any compromise by Japan would be a win for China since they gain land.

Not going to happen.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

sfjp330

"There was another reason that Japan decided not to settle the territorial dispute and reach a peace treaty in 1956. The United States had interceded forcefully to prevent such agreement, once the Soviet Union had made its concession and it appeared that Japan might accede to the compromise. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, in a discussion with Foreign Minister Shigemitsu on August 19, had replied to a query as to the juridical effect of a Japanese acknowledgment of Soviet sovereignty over the Kuril Islands by threatening in that case to revoke the earlier American acknowledgment of Japanese residual sovereignty over Okinawa and Ryukyu Islands." "Northern territories" and beyond: Russian, Japanese, and American perspectives (James E. Goodby, Vladimir I. Ivanov, Nobuo Shimotomai)

Yes, and AFTER that, the USSR hinted at the possibility of considering the return of the Habomai Islands and Shikotan if Japan abandoned its alliance with the United States, and when Japan and the US signed the "Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security", Moscow declared that it would not hand over the Habomai Islands and Shikotan under any circumstances unless Japan abrogated the treaty forthwith. Then in 1964, the Soviet Union offered to return these islands if the United States ended its military presence on Okinawa and the main islands of Japan. This is proof that Russia had no intention of returning the two islands they were LEGALLY obligated to return

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I like hikiwake as it makes sense and ends the war with a peace treaty. Both sides get something but not everything. Usually I do not support the PM but he enjoys my support on this issue. Maybe this is a chance for real peace and maybe this solution will work with China as well. Japan needs to live up to its promise of never making war again.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Does any not understand, Russia, And China are made of the same cloth!!!!! These two countries and their buddies will never come into the fold of the peaceful developed community of nations. We see this again and again and again. These are two hostile nations that support hostile regimes around the world and there is no reason to provide either the means to grow in power. As we see what they stand for and what they do with their power. Incredible that politicians are so gullible to corporate funds.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

YuriOtani

I like hikiwake as it makes sense and ends the war with a peace treaty. Both sides get something but not everything. Usually I do not support the PM but he enjoys my support on this issue. Maybe this is a chance for real peace and maybe this solution will work with China as well. Japan needs to live up to its promise of never making war again.

I'm sorry, but what does Japan get? Russia has already stated that they will not return the two islands they are obligated to return and will not talk about the other two. They also said that all four islands are sovereign Russian territory and none of the islands will be given to Japan, so what is there for Japan to get out of this apart from sweet flip all?

tyvtgo1US

Does any not understand, Russia, And China are made of the same cloth!!!!! These two countries and their buddies will never come into the fold of the peaceful developed community of nations. We see this again and again and again. These are two hostile nations that support hostile regimes around the world and there is no reason to provide either the means to grow in power. As we see what they stand for and what they do with their power. Incredible that politicians are so gullible to corporate funds.

This proves that Russia will not give Japan ant of the islands back

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Lets wait Jay until they make their proposition. President Putin has changed his tune.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

YuriOtani

Lets wait Jay until they make their proposition. President Putin has changed his tune.

I'm sorry, but Putin will not change his stance. He said in 2006 that Russia would now give the Japanese no territory so what is there for Japan to gain by waiting to hear Russia say "The islands are our now, and you're not getting any of them"?. And if the islands are so valuable to Russia, why does Russia say the '56 deal (which Russia abrogated) to return two of the islands is still valid? If the islands are that valuable to them, why don't they use Russian money to make things better for the people living there instead of wanting Japanese investment? Russia is using the carrot-and-stick method to get Japan to invest in the islands without returning ANY of them to Japan, including the two they were LEGALLY required to do.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Jay Wilson Sep. 10, 2013 - 04:24AM JST I'm sorry, but Putin will not change his stance. He said in 2006 that Russia would now give the Japanese no territory so what is there for Japan to gain by waiting to hear Russia say "The islands are our now, and you're not getting any of them"?.

You have the old news. Former FM Gemba described the territorial dispute between Russia and Japan as an issue of various agreements and documents in the past and principles of law and justice from the meeting in late 2011 with Putin. The law refers to the 1956 Japan-Russia Joint Declaration. Putin admits the declaration, which proposed to return two of the disputed islands to Japan, is valid. Therefore the two sides share a common ground.

Russia's problem is that reforms aren't implemented when the country has money and when reforms are needed, the nation lacks funds. Russia's stability throughout the last decade, during which the country's democratization process was postponed, has been supported by surges in energy resource prices. But it's uncertain how long this will continue. Inevitably, economic sectors such as high technology and information technology will need to be diversified and modernized. Putin is focusing on the potential of Japan, which has reduced dependency on nuclear power since the 3/11 Fukushima Earthquake. Putin is discussing energy cooperation with Japan in sectors such as natural gas. He may be able to build better Japan-Russia relations. Russia sees Japan as a long-term importer of its natural gas.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

If nothing is given up there will be no peace treaty.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

sfjp330:

You have the old news. Former FM Gemba described the territorial dispute between Russia and Japan as an issue of various agreements and documents in the past and principles of law and justice from the meeting in late 2011 with Putin. The law refers to the 1956 Japan-Russia Joint Declaration. Putin admits the declaration, which proposed to return two of the disputed islands to Japan, is valid. Therefore the two sides share a common ground.

Russia's problem is that reforms aren't implemented when the country has money and when reforms are needed, the nation lacks funds. Russia's stability throughout the last decade, during which the country's democratization process was postponed, has been supported by surges in energy resource prices. But it's uncertain how long this will continue. Inevitably, economic sectors such as high technology and information technology will need to be diversified and modernized. Putin is focusing on the potential of Japan, which has reduced dependency on nuclear power since the 3/11 Fukushima Earthquake. Putin is discussing energy cooperation with Japan in sectors such as natural gas. He may be able to build better Japan-Russia relations. Russia sees Japan as a long-term importer of its natural gas.

If Putin said that Russia will now give Japan no territory, how the blazes can he then say the 1956 deal is still valid? And for that matter, if the 1956 was abrogated by the Russians, how then can they say that it is still valid and want to negotiate on its basis? And as for energy cooperation, you must be deluded if you think that will lead to a resolution of this dispute.

YuriOtani:

If nothing is given up there will be no peace treaty.

If there is no peace treaty, then Russia should stop begging Japan to throw away its money in the islands

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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