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Putin: Japan once passed up chance to take back two disputed isles

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So? Japan wants them all back. Is it ok for a thief to only return half of what he stole and then think that his crime is forgiven?

-3 ( +13 / -16 )

“The Soviet Union received (the islands), the Soviet Union was ready to give back those islands,”

Then Vlad continued "But Russia ain't the Soviet Union".

3 ( +5 / -2 )

“The Soviet Union received (the islands), the Soviet Union was ready to give back those islands,

Received? So Japan just served them up on a platter and gave them to the then USSR? Poor translation maybe?

2 ( +8 / -6 )

No, Japan lost them in a war. Don't like losing your islands in wars? Don't freaking start any....

17 ( +24 / -7 )

My understanding is that the big brave Russians took over those islands AFTER Japan had surrendered.

1 ( +12 / -11 )

I think historically Putin is right. But Japan can probably count itself lucky it wasn't all of Hokkaido and half of Honshu too, so that it was divided like Germany.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Whilst all of the above is true, Japan is playing a losing game here and should have settled for the two islands years ago when they were on offer. Regardless of any moral claim, with every passing year there is less and less chance of ANY of the islands being returned and less reason to do so. The inevitable consequence of Japan's strategy is that 200 years from now they will still be saying "this land is ours, give it back" despite the fact that 10 generations of non-Japanese people will have lived there, and hardly any Japanese will have set foot on it in generations. The Japanese territorial claim will remain but the reality of disrupting the lives of tens of thousands of people will most likely trump that. These issues are rarely resolved to the satisfaction of both parties; Japan ought to understand that disputes fester for decades over uninhabited rocks. They just need to look at the Falklands and Gibraltar to see how long they can go on in areas with settled populations. (None of which is to justify the Russian stance - I just think Japan missed, and continues to miss, a rare opportunity to settle the issue now in the hope of a mythical future resolution)

6 ( +7 / -1 )

@Harry_Gatto "My understanding is that the big brave Russians took over those islands AFTER Japan had surrendered."

Actually, Russians seized them in a battle. You should learn history much better.

9 ( +15 / -6 )

Regardless of any moral claim, with every passing year there is less and less chance of ANY of the islands being returned..

But Japan's claim isn't really moral, is it? It's a claim based entirely on legal technicalities.

The moral claim to the spoils of war probably rests with the people who eventually defeated the nation which launched the most reckless and destructive war of the 20th century.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Yes back in the 80s the USSR was struggling and signaled to JAPAN they could have the islands back for I believe it was 8 billion $ in GOLD! JAPAN declined stupidly! What a bargain it would have been, the fishing grounds, maybe minerals and timber, tourism, national defense. Japan blew it unfortunately, the price tag is now much much higher and Putin is not begging with hat in hand, and he won't accept printed yen.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

the fishing grounds, maybe minerals and timber, tourism, national defense

Potentially, natural gas, like on Sakhalin.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

2 birds in hand beat 4 in the bush,,, unfortunately this will be a lesson hard hard learned for Mr. Abe,,,

1 ( +3 / -2 )

No, Japan lost them in a war. Don't like losing your islands in wars? Don't freaking start any....

Wasn't Japan and the Soviets at peace until the US nuked the former and the Soviets decided to take advantage of the situation?

That's not to say Japan wasn't extremely stupid to have ignored them and launched a projected war in the Pacific instead while fighting 600 million odd Chinese, all at the same time.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

"The Soviet Union was ready to return to Japan two of the four Pacific islands that are the focus of a territorial dispute between Moscow and Tokyo, but Japan declined, leaving the row unresolved, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday."

...and that is the best he can do, people. Refer to something that must have happened before 1990, and don't give any specifics, and just hope nobody parses too carefully.

So when was that exactly? What are the details? It could not have been before 1972. Or the Vietnam or Carter years. It certainly was not during the Reagan years. So I think Putin is referring to the Kaifu rumors of a trade in about 1991. How was the weak Yeltsin regime supposed to work a deal there? Putin was there, so he should know. He should also know that the oil oligarchs never would have approved a trade then.

I think Putin is addled. The trade did not happen because it was a dumb deal. Yes Japan passed on it. And given the terms and conditions, they might pass on it today. So what? It is deflection and obfuscation.

Look. Putin and Russia have this idea that Japan is to be negotiated with as some kind of junior entity. A claimant. They have it backwards. The Russians have the rusty 65 buick filled with hillbillies that they have to unload or deal with for eternity. If they want to unload it to someone who wants it and will pay SOMETHING for it, they need to put a real deal together and present it. Russia has the GNP of Italy and no access to capital markets. If they want to make a deal, great. If they aren't serious, they are just wasting everyone's time. Go pout someplace else, Russia. You did this to yourself.

Anyone looking at this issue over time will note the obvious. The islands are next to worthless to the Japanese and are worse than worthless to the Russians, who increasingly cannot defend them or afford them or use them. Russia has gone from the second largest economy in the world to a reliance on commodities prices to keep them in the top 10. And the slide continues. Am I being too hard on them? Nope. Ask Russians. They have been leaving in droves since 1990.

I am cool with Japan doing nothing on the islands. If Putin cannot turn the islands into something of value for HIS people, then Japan will eventually get the islands anyway. By the way, Alaska was bought for 7.2 million dollars. Which puts the real value of Habomai and Shikotan at about tree fiddy.

Finally, looking at Putin's rhetoric, we can count on him blowing this chance. Abe has made his overture and done his duty, so if any deals are made with Russia, it will be some podunk oil development deal that the US will veto. Oh well. Sorry Russia. Abe will smile and be polite and shrug. Putin will have wasted his time. He will go back to Moscow and watch his country backslide to an Albania or North Korea like state. Too bad. Oh well. Japan will make bank doing reliable investment and trade deals with reliable partners, and that is how the tragedy ends. A few years ago, Putin was a mastermind and a chessmaster, and now, he is too constrained and cowed to do anything more important than arrange a few flybys of US ships and hope that there is somebody out there more desperate than he is. It did not have to be this way. Everyone who has left Russia knows Russia could and should be better. Diplomatically, they are not even playing to win anymore, they are playing to lose.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Japan did not just decline the offer of the two islands. It was pressured by the U.S. not to accept.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

The fact that the USSR offered the two islands back to Japan indicates that they were under the impression the islands were Japanese territory. For Putin to bring this up is interesting. Maybe they will return the two but the price for Japan will be rather high (i.e. Japan will need to buy them back through huge investment in Russia).

From wikipedia:

'During the 1956 peace talks between Japan and the Soviet Union, the Soviet side proposed to settle the dispute by returning Shikotan and Habomai to Japan. In the final round of the talks, the Japanese side accepted the weakness of its claim to Iturup and Kunashiri and agreed to settle on the return of Shikotan and the Habomai Islands, in exchange for a peace treaty. However, the U.S. government intervened and blocked the deal. The U.S. warned Japan that a withdrawal of the Japanese claim on the other islands would mean the U.S. would keep Okinawa, causing Japan to refuse these terms..............Hereby, the U.S.S.R., in response to the desires of Japan and taking into consideration the interest of the Japanese state, agrees to hand over to Japan the Habomai and the Shikotan Islands, provided that the actual changing over to Japan of these islands will be carried out after the conclusion of a peace treaty.'

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Putin talking about "humanitarian issues"? Too funny

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

“The Soviet Union received (the islands), the Soviet Union was ready to give back those islands,” Putin told a news conference at the end of a G-20 summit in China.

It does not matter what the Soviet Union was ready to do. It only matters what Putin and Russia are willing to do now.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

"Japan did not just decline the offer of the two islands. It was pressured by the U.S. not to accept."

One wonders. First of all, I don't believe Japan "declined" any offer. Certainly no official offer was made. No conditions were set. If this is the Kaifu deal, then Kaifu was on his way out anyway, so he did not have the resources to do a deal. Yeltsin was not in any position to make such a great deal anyway. Kaifu had pressure from the right to not take any deal if it was not for all four islands. Kanemaru was getting old and was not going to go too far out on a limb for Kaifu. It was a mess.

So if the US just casually mentioned that they did not like the deal, then it probably came as quite a relief to everyone involved on the Japanese end. They just blamed it on the Americans, and problem solved.

Maybe the Soviets thought they were making a deal, but Japan did not pick up on it? Doubtful. It would have been reported in the J press, and it wasn't. I remember vague stories at the time with the usual hype, but nothing substantial. Suspect dezinformatsiya here.

A tacit or explicit US veto could happen now of course, which makes anyone posting about "Russia's strong bargaining position" look like a raving idiot in my book. Everyone knows that the WORST thing a salesman ever wants to hear is "I need to talk this over with my wife." There is NO NEGOTIATION SPACE for Russia on Dec. 15 with Japan OR with the US. let alone space for both. If something is going to happen, Russia will have to go waaaay outside the box to make it happen, and they won't. I would bet a thousand dollars that Abe, whatever his rhetoric might be, has already written that off. Even presented with something "normal", he will just brush it off as a waste of time... a non-starter. It is a shame, because I think Russia needs a deal, but betting on Russia to do something to improve its diplomatic position? They are on too much of a losing streak for me to go for that.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

The moral claim to the spoils of war probably rests with the people who eventually defeated the nation which launched the most reckless and destructive war of the 20th century.

So you are saying that it's Germany's fault that Japan lost these islands to the Soviet Union?

And that the U.S., Britain, France, USSR, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Greece, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, South Africa, Yugoslavia, should all have a moral claim over them?

Hmmmm.....

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I don't feel too sorry for Japan on this island(s) issue, they should have accepted the two smaller groups & moved on instead of leaving this to fester for decades & counting.

I mean just imagine(perish the thought) if Japan won WWII...........fast forward to now do you really think Japan would have "returned" the Far East & SE Asian countries it invaded.............unlikely for sure, thank goodness Japan lost back in 45!

Japan continuing to whine about the northern isles isn't likely to prod Russia to return them, at best they may offer Shikotan & Habomai again, if Japan is lucky.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Two islands are better than none and it should be the terms for a peace treaty. No islands means no peace treaty. Perhaps Japan should offer to drop sanctions to sweeten the pot.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Losing wars sucks. Think about that before you start one next time.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Japan gambled and lost the war. Just sour grapes now. Maybe someday the Russians might need something and they can strike a deal. But for now, Japan is SOL.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

It's never too late.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"It's never too late" to bungle a diplomat effort if your name is V. Putin.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Putin is right in this case.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

About the '56 deal, that putin brought up, he himself has said back in the early 00's that Russia will now give Japan no territory. So HOW THE HELL can he talk about a missed chance, the lying dictator.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Japan gambled and lost the war. Just sour grapes now

Over 70 years after the fact? What century are you living in? Even the US gave back Okinawa and the surrounding islands, over 40 years ago.....I guess Russia is still living in it's past too.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Yubaru: "So? Japan wants them all back. Is it ok for a thief to only return half of what he stole and then think that his crime is forgiven?"

They didn't steal them. They are the spoils of war, which was still on at the time despite Japan's surrender. Besides, it could be argued Japan also took them long ago if you take your tack on it.

Kabukilover: "Japan did not just decline the offer of the two islands. It was pressured by the U.S. not to accept."

Hogwash. Or at least, hogwash that they were powerless to decide and there was no right-wing pressure at home. And even IF they have no ability to decide things on their own and it was entirely the US' fault (again), why do lawmakers get in trouble for even suggesting accepting anything but ALL of the islands back now, and not by the US?

YuriOtani: "Two islands are better than none and it should be the terms for a peace treaty."

I don't believe he is offering two islands. In fact, he seemed to deliberately avoid any mention of giving anything to Japan, only that it was offered in the past.

"No islands means no peace treaty."

Would be more of a loss to Japan -- especially politicians who have sworn to get all the islands back for some reason.

"Perhaps Japan should offer to drop sanctions to sweeten the pot."

Then how would they try to play both sides as transparently as a window with no glass? They wouldn't dare remove the sanctions, despite begging Russia not to think ill of them for supporting them in the first place, because they agreed with the US and others to do so even though it would hurt them on the issue.

Face it. Japan lost this one when they lost the war. And lost it again with what Putin is referring to. Now they keep on losing it because of such attitudes that they are entitled to all of them, or even any, when they are 100% Russian islands.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

smithinjapan: Face it. Japan lost this one when they lost the war. And lost it again with what Putin is referring to. Now they keep on losing it because of such attitudes that they are entitled to all of them, or even any, when they are 100% Russian islands.

What attitude would you suggest they take? IMHO no matter what "attitude" Japan coould take, that fool in the Kremlin won't return any of the islands to Japan. So the onus is on moscow, not Tokyo

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

“The Soviet Union received (the islands)"

Received...by invading them after Japan surrendered, rounding up the Japanese civilian inhabitants and deporting them.

dharmadanSep. 06, 2016 - 12:26PM JST Losing wars sucks. Think about that before you start one next time.

The United States is the one Japan started a war with And we consider the islands Japanese territory occupied by Russia.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

OssanAmerica: "Received...by invading them after Japan surrendered, rounding up the Japanese civilian inhabitants and deporting them."

The war wasn't over yet, plain and simple. Japan rushed to surrender to the US because they knew Russia was going to invade, and knew the US would be better masters.

"The United States is the one Japan started war with".

It was a WORLD WAR, bud, and Japan with the Axis. Or are you going to say Germany started the war with the US (who joined against them), and the US had no right to attack Germany? Oh wait, that's probably "different", isn't it? It always is.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

This is simple:

No return of islands = No Peace Treay

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It was a WORLD WAR, bud, and Japan with the Axis

Yes Soviet enter the war breaking the pact , ignorig Japanese effort for peace talk, raped, killed Japanese civilians runnning away from Manchuria, which were also what you call the spoil of the war, by the way.... for pure Humanitarianism

no motives for territorial expansions, what so ever

0 ( +3 / -3 )

DieRealityCheck: Yes Soviet enter the war breaking the pact , ignorig Japanese effort for peace talk, raped, killed Japanese civilians runnning away from Manchuria, which were also what you call the spoil of the war, by the way.... for pure Humanitarianism. no motives for territorial expansions, what so ever

Well said friend

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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