For five days they walked along the islands of Kunashir, Iturup and Shikotan, exploring opportunities for joint economic activities, about which Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed at the end of last year.
The Russian media then submitted this agreement as a brilliant victory for our diplomacy, thanks to the efforts of which the islands remained part of the Russian Federation. Although the rise of the demonstrative friendship between Putin and Abe, preceded by a fateful meeting, aroused suspicions in the opposite. Yes, and the Japanese Prime Minister assured that during the visit of the Russian president to Tokyo will be able to put an end to the Kuril issue. However, the dot turned into an ellipsis.
However, the Japanese diplomacy also called the agreement breakthrough, and the face of Shinzo Abe was radiant with happiness, which made it easy for a common man to question: so all the same, the Kuriles will be given up, just not right away?
Here and now the news about the business mission of the Japanese bloggers comment in the same vein: they say, the samurai on the ground will slowly "climb". Soon the settlements will be built. Then they will say that this is their territory, and the United States will be confirmed. And the subsequent actions of Russia will be perceived as aggression against a sovereign state.
As the agreement concluded by Vladimir Putin and Shinzo Abe states, Russia and Japan will cooperate in the Kuril Islands in the fields of fishery, mariculture, tourism, medicine, and ecology. Cooperation will be based on Russian legislation, since the islands belong to Russia.
Nevertheless, officially we are friends with Japan. The governor of the Sakhalin region Oleg Kozhemyako even called the Japanese visit a big step in bilateral relations, answering that the authorities are ready to provide conditions for the development of business in the region. And Eichi Hasegawa stated that for the Japanese side "it is important to find as many points of contact with the Russian side in the Kuriles as possible". Inspection of objects and was called to find these points in order to determine the most promising directions for interaction.
So far, Moscow has taken a firm stand: no compromise in the territorial issue. However, the Japanese, it seems, still wait for something else. More precisely, optimists are waiting, and pessimists are showing disappointment. For example, the Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun complains: "In the opinion of the Japanese government, the risk is that in the event of incidents in the course of joint hostility, the Russian side will fully control the adoption of appropriate measures. Despite this, Japan went on a joint activity, as the Putin administration refuses to negotiate directly on the territories, saying that the four northern islands are the territory of Russia. As a result, the problem of "northern territories" does not move from the dead end. "
Mikhail Neizhmakov, leading analyst of the Agency for Political and Economic Communications:
- Vladimir Putin is very cautious in assessing the prospects for economic activity of Tokyo in the Kuriles. For example, on June 15, 2017, he stated that "joint work on the islands is possible", but "there are issues burdening this problem," including "Japan's obligations to its allies." Of course, the USA was meant. That is, the president of the Russian Federation argued why the first steps have been taken, not even at the beginning of Japan's economic activity on the islands, but only to study such an opportunity. To the real or exaggerated threats of the Japanese economic expansion to the Kurils is still very far.
As for Tokyo, then, of course, they can place any hopes on concessions to Moscow. It is clear that the business mission to the Kuriles has been discussed for a long time. But while the Japanese government thanks to this mission will solve rather tactical internal political tasks.