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JAPAN AND RUSSIA ISSUE JOINT STATEMENT ABOUT KURILES AFTER ONSEN ...

Last Thursday in my News and Views from the Nefarium I talked about the Onsen summit in Japan between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin. As I put it then, one should not expect many breakthroughs from the summit on the issue of the Kuril islands, those northern islands seized from Japan by the Soviet Union at the end of World War Two. Neither nation has, since then, been willing to renounce those claims. Instead, I suggested that one has to look forward to a long process of negotiations on a whole host of issues. But the central geopolitical issue is, Russia needs Japanese financing and expertise to develop Siberian infrastructure, and as a counter-balance to growing Chinese influence in the region, and Japan needs a close, and secure, supply of energy that cannot be interdicted by China.

This geopolitical convergence, I've been arguing, is a much stronger gravitational pull than anything else keeping the two Asia powerhouses apart, including American pressure on Japan, and including the stormy relationships between the two countries that began in the Russo-Japanese war, when Japanese land and naval forces easily and handily defeated the Tsar, and seized several key Russian outposts in the far East, including Port Arthur. Back then, both powers sought a "neutral negotiating power" to conclude a peace, which was Teddy Roosevelt's USA. Notably, neither power is now paying all that much attention to the USA, although Mr. Abe's government carefully avoided giving the impression that Mr. Putin's visit was a state visit, for he did not meet with Emperor Akihito.

However, I think we can safely chalk up my prediction of "no breakthroughs" at the summit in the "big miss" column. Here's why:

Putin, Abe agree on joint Russia-Japan activities on Kuril Islands

Putin: Kuril Islands may become unifying element, help Moscow & Tokyo finally sign peace treaty

There's much to ponder in these articles, and I think it is safe to say that the two nations may have found not only a way around the Kurils issue, but also, in arriving at a unique solution, perhaps have established a template for further long-term action. In short, I think it's safe to say that what we may have just witnessed is a quiet breakthrough, but one whose implications will continue to affect regional geopolitics for years if not decades to come.

First, note what the first article states about the Kurils issue:

Putin and Abe had to discuss the issue one-on-one after Russian and Japanese experts failed to agree on the wording of the statement, he added.

According to Ushakov, the statement on joint Russian-Japanese economic activities in the South Kuril Islands, which may concern fisheries, tourism, culture and medicine, will be published tomorrow.

Abe told reporters the leaders “thoroughly and frankly discussed the issues of free access to their homeland by former residents of the islands, joint economic activities between the two countries with a special economic zone on the islands, as well as the issue of a peace treaty."

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov later stressed that the Japanese side had no objections to working in the framework of Russian law in the Kurils.

In other words, the rumors that we've heard about precisely such a solution to the problem, first aired by Russian and Japanese diplomats some months ago, appears to have been given some sort of formal consent by the two leaders. Note that under the terms of this putative agreement, Russia retains sovereignty, and hence, Japanese living, or doing business there, will operate under Russian, rather than Japanese law. In return, a "special economic zone" will be created, including free access of Japanese to the islands. What this means, I suspect, is that the Kurils are being viewed by both powers as the base of operations for future Japanese participation in Siberian infrastructure development. As such, we may expect that this "special economic zone" may include a lessening or complete lifting of tariffs between the two countries in the Kurils itself, for the flow of goods, services, and finance. Watch for future agreements working out the details of this arrangement. What intrigues here is that neither leader, apparently, ever raised the issue of sovereignty over the Kurils, but rather, cut right to the chase about the potentials for long term Russo-Japanese cooperation.  And lest the obvious be missed, this is also an indicator of increasing American weakness, or at least, of the perception of increasing American weakness, particularly by The Empire of Japan.

Mr. Putin seems to reinforce these speculations with his own statements, as recorded in the second article:

Russia's Kuril Islands, long disputed by Japan, may become a unifying element, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during his visit to Japan, noting that joint economic activities there could help the two countries finally agree on a peace treaty.

If we take the right steps in the direction of the plan proposed by the Prime Minister [Abe], and he proposed creating a separate structure regulating economic activities on the islands, striking a legal intergovernmental agreement [and] working out a mechanism for interaction, [we can], on this basis, generate the conditions that would allow us to finally solve the problem of the peace treaty,” Putin told the news conference following talks with Japan’s prime minister on Friday.

These islands, instead of a bone of contention between Russia and Japan, can, on the contrary, become something uniting [the two countries],” the Russian leader said.

The "long term template" idea appears to be in the thinking both of Mr. Abe, and Mr. Putin. The Kurils, in short, and far from being a stumbling block, are being made a test bed for wider and longer term arrangements. And geopolitically, it is difficult to conceive how China or the USA will be able to inject themselves into the process. It is under these conditions and considerations that I suspect we've witness a breakthrough.

But there is much more than economic cooperation going on here. There are also now on the table bi-lateral defense talks under way on mutual security concerns between the two countries (citing the first article again):

Putin and Abe also agreed to restore military cooperation between the two countries as well as ties in the spheres “frozen” in recent years, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday.

It was agreed to resume “2+2” ministerial talks, which would involve meetings between foreign ministers and defense ministers of both nations, he explained.

According to Lavrov, the Japanese side has become more aware of Russia’s worries over US global missile defense system and its increased presence in the Asia-Pacific region, which Moscow views as “inadequate to the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.”

We have an impression that our Japanese colleagues now understand better Russia's concerns in this matter,” Lavrov said, adding that Russia and Japan had confirmed mutual interest in cooperation on security issues, despite what he called “special relations” between Tokyo and Washington.

In other words, in spite of the "special relationship" between Japan and the USA, which Russia acknowledges, Japan and Russia are proceeding with bi-lateral talks between their respective foreign and defense ministers.  What these talks are about are easy to guess: China, and, as the article itself suggests, North Korea, which curiously, the article states that the American presence is "inadequate to the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear and missile programs." In other words, Moscow is blaming not Tokyo, or Beijing for the North Korea problem, but Washington, and apparently, the Japanese were able to see Russia's point. This, in itself, is another earthquake, for it is suggesting that North Korea is being propped up covertly by Washington as an agent provocateur to create instability in the region in order to justify the continue American military presence in the region. This is admittedly a wild speculation, but there have been stories and rumors to that effect over the years on the internet. In any case, that Russia would phrase things in this unusual manner, and that Japan would apparently be willing to listen and consider this strange viewpoint, speaks volumes.

In any case, Mr. Abe also seems to be viewing the Kuril "economic zone" issue as a stepping stone to an eventual formal peace treaty between the two nations according to the second article:

rime Minister Abe, who has repeatedly pledged to resolve the decades-old conflict, also expressed confidence that a special economic regime for the disputed Kuril Islands would help resolve the peace treaty problem.

We’ve agreed with the Russian president to create a special economic regime for conducting special business activities on [the disputed] islands,” he said at the joint press-conference on Friday, adding that “the special economic regime will be aimed at providing a background for resolving the [peace treaty] problem, [it] will be a very important step for solving the peace treaty issue in the future.”

Abe also noted that Moscow and Tokyo are set to begin immediate negotiations on granting Japanese citizens free access to the graves of their relatives on the islands.

We agreed that former residents could freely visit the places where they had previously lived and buried their ancestors. We agreed, on humanitarian grounds, to immediately begin negotiations on how to provide this access. This way, we can, at least in part, meet the wishes of the former inhabitants of the islands,” Abe said. Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov stressed earlier that the Japanese side had no objections to working on the Kurils within the framework of Russian law.

The bottom line here is that Japan and Russia just set off a geopolitical earthquake, in my opinion, one with long term implications for the region. As we watch the details of these agreements being worked out over the coming years, I suspect that we will see a fundamental realignment of power and particularly a wide-ranging sphere of cooperation between the two countries on economic and military affairs.

See you on the flip side...

 

 

 

 

22 thoughts on “ JAPAN AND RUSSIA ISSUE JOINT STATEMENT ABOUT KURILES AFTER ONSEN ...”

  1. Roughly 18 months ago I began hearing that the Japanese and Russians had reached an agreement on the Kurils, but that no public announcement would be made until the Obama administration was dead and the successor to Obama was not an enemy of Russia. One can understand the wisdom of wanting to keep Washington under Obama (or Clinton) as far away from Russo-Japanese negotiations as possible.

    I believe Dr. Farrell is correct in that the Russians need Japan to order to fully develop Siberia and to build a strong economic ring around the People’s Republic of China.

  2. As I wrote and as been partially confirmed in my post to the 12-15 News & Views post: “Putin appears to be angling for some really big, huge commitment from Japan. Could it be Russia wants Japan to wean itself away from its USSA alliance? Mr. Abe did say he was thinking “about what relations between Japan and Russia should be like in 20 or 30 years.”

    Now, this development gives someone in the Trump Administration some VERY IMPORTANT talking points with the Chinese about trade relations, which are not particularly favorable to its current regime.

    There appears to be a somewhat important twist in relationships occurring between Taiwan AND China that has been put into play by Mr. Trump, who is in play here regardless of what appears in the “open” media.

    Trump appears to be colluding with Putin in an attempt to reign in the rising power of China.

    Trump, along with Putin are developing the “Ultimate Deal”.

    This is really BIG!!!!!! It will take years, and years to come to fruition.

  3. A couple potential scenarios I could envision:

    1) The US sinks the Kuril islands to demonstrate their new island sinking technology as a warning to Japan (or perhaps this is an old island sinking technology the US deep state uncovered in Antarctica– the legendary torpedo used by the Antarticans to send the Atlanteans to Davey Jones’ locker). Wouldn’t this silence quite a few internet naysayers who said sinking an island couldn’t be done?

    2) Chinese snatches the islands in the cover of night and pulls them to the South China sea for territorial purposes?

    3) George Soros engineers a color revolution among the ancient minority caucasian Ainu people of the Kuril islands and under the banner of their ancient symbol the Swastika and with the help of some fascist mercenaries from the Ukraine and Monsanto, puts the Ainu people in control of the local Kuril government where they declare independence from Russia. The new Ainu government immediately petitions to join NATO while threatening to dump into the Pacific millions of Monsanto’s new GMO silicone fish which has been magnanimously designed by Monsanto to scour the sea eating plastic waste, including nylon fishing nets which Monsanto denies.

  4. from the land of awaiting moderation on the latest tidbits page:
    think i put too many links so here’s the same notes minus the links from truthstream media on youtube.

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    here’s what they distracting us from:
    melissa and aaron bring a decent enough perspective. they’re already being shutdown from access to the rest of us. call it the china syndrome? how long before they’re making life difficult for doc and/or his audience?

    The “Fake News” Psyop: Our Freedom Depends on the Freedom of the Press

    We Are Watching The Long Game to Total Censorship Play Out

    Congress Hands Government Authority to Microchip People with ‘Mental Disabilities’

    How They Are Shutting Down the Alternative Media Online

  5. Some think a day ahead, some a week, others a month or even a year. The elite tend to think 5, 10, even 50 years ahead. They take their time and slowly nudge and eat away at things till they accomplish their goals. Our freedoms and rights are dying the death of a thousand cuts. I can’t help but wonder if all this is somehow scripted and as the world tires of the West’s nonsense, watch for them to ease that one belt, one road, one world government into being, not from the West but from the East. They certainly are fond of that word “one”. Since force of arms isn’t cutting it, diplomacy is just as good. However, it leaves them with about six billion people they really don’t want around. While a nuclear holocaust would do the trick, it would leave most of the world uninhabitable, but then that’s what they are aiming for anyway.

  6. Interesting. Based on these Russo-Japanese negotiations, I could see the Kurils (one island, at least) becoming a kind of north-Pacific “Hong Kong.” Cool for them. (The US – the shadowy characters behind the US government – is not going to like this one bit. Look for a ‘response’…)

  7. Thought I should get this out, just in case:
    82.221.129.208
    Jim Stone – Dec 17 2016

    “A large number of people have messaged me about an attack on Russia.

    There has been a massive buildup in NATO countries, that strongly implies they are getting ready for a huge war against Russia. THIS IS FACT. It cannot be denied; it is obvious and plain as day.

    My take on this: They are p1ssed about Brexit. They are p1ssed about a many other defeats, but most of all… they are angry with the American people. They lost the American election recounts. They lost with the riots. They lost with trying to rig the electoral college. And now the latest gaffe, where they were trying to push the ‘Russia hacked the election’ ruse was blown by a British Ambassador that said HE was the one who blew the DNC mails into the open. They are playing a game of Lose Lose Lose. But there’s one last way they can WIN: And it is called the BIG RED BUTTON.

    So do you think they’ll hit the button and FORCE a response from Russia to skate out of their crimes? You can bet that they would. Yes, the buildup in Europe really is spooky.”

    Separately (read the Soros sentence, and let it sink in):
    “I am surprised the markets have taken off after Trump won, because the elite do have that fully under their control. Recently, Soros bought into gold HUGE (yesterday). And I would not be surprised if they rip the carpet out after Trump takes office, because they certainly can.”

    1. There is a current article by The Saker that apparently is so ‘dangerous’ that two of my comments referring to it have been instantly deleted HERE. Search on “neocon panic and agony”. Wow.

        1. Dr. Farrell, thanks for the personal reply. I did not think that you, personally, did the deeds. (Nor did I imply that, for the record.)

          What did happen, factually, was that one comment with The Saker URL was written, the “Post Comment’ button was pressed, and the screen did not update with either the comment showing or a ‘modded’ version showing. This comment ‘vanished’.

          So, I did a ‘sneakier’ version with the URL made into a non-functional version. This also vanished after the “Post Comment’ button was pressed, and the screen did not update with either the comment showing or a ‘modded’ version showing.

          I gave up the URL attempt for the third try, and wrote it as shown above. It posted perfectly, just as usual.

          So, I echo what zendogbreathzendogbreath asked, just above:
          “Doc, is there a way someone else might be carrying a delete button you don’t know about?”

        2. (Deleted names of sites, to see if it gets through…)

          “Many people who have forums and comment sections never see half of what should come in (or even less). It all depends upon the software they are running. A lot of it can be intercepted or sends everything through an intermediate step which the people who use that software do not even know about.

          WordPress is absolutely classic for this to the point of absolute doom. PHPBB is another absolute whack job to the point of it being worthless. And admins do not even know it. They think it is all running local when, NO, for every damn thing it gets sent through a central location that can just nix stuff.

          They won’t do it to admin, because then it would be obvious. But admin can forget about getting legitimate random content sent by others unless it is degraded or pure trash. Those are not the only two that do it, but they are two I have direct experience with doing it.

          This type of thing has as far as I can tell happened at … to name a few. I don’t know what software they are running, but know this is a problem for them. All of the operators are good people, but they have problems with censorship they don’t even know about.

          And I guess it is all a matter of priority for the censors. Many who do not normally get censored are getting censored now. And, this is part of the ‘back channel censorship’ I talked about earlier.”

          J Stone – Dec 18 2016

      1. Well, well. It just happened again. Two comments in a row were ‘vanished’ instantly after pressing the “Post Comment” button. No appearance either in normal or ‘under moderation’ form. Ironically, both were on how web-censoring is done. Let’s see if this third one gets through…

  8. How wondrous rare and refreshing to see two leaders practice real diplomacy which diffuses a point of great contention and transforms it into a joint project which enriches both countries.

    It’s a world apart from the braying banshees and indefatigable harpies who harangue, harass and whipsaw the West. So tired of them all, such a lot of sick-souled, twisted nonentities.

  9. I think what Abe and Putin aim is something greater a Japanese-Russian-Chinese-Korean cooperation alliance. It’s not only the Kuriles Islands issue but the deliberate partition of Korea that has to end so the foreign garrison troops that keeps that nation divided can be finally withdrawn. A maybe the USA can being behaving like a true sovereign nation for once instead of a vassal for the Norman Empire it has been for over a century.

  10. They do have a common enemy in the US leadership. That that may change is possible. But this was inevitable geopolitically, and it has been Western policy to prevent the strengthening of an Asian arena/theater strategically aligned both politically, militarily & economically. This then would soon attract/encompass Europe and lead to the dread of the West, a Eurasian supremacy in the world.
    Thus, I wouldn’t be surprised if China was part of this creative solution.

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