The Islet War Between Russia and Japan to Last Forever?

Russian Far East authorities are very unhappy about negotiations with Koizumi

One may not say that the majority of Russian people keep on thinking about the issue the South Kurile islands. There are lots of other things for people to think of. Even senior politicians touch upon this problem only when regular negotiations between Russia and Japan start. However, this does not go for the Far East of Russia. They recall the Kurile islands rather often.

Last Thursday the deputies of the Sakhalin regional administration unanimously approved the text of the address to the leadership of the country. The document criticized the results of the negotiations, which took place during Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visit to Russia. It should be reminded here that Putin and Koizumi agreed to approve the action plan, according to which Moscow and Tokyo pointed out their wish to conclude a peace treaty, including the settlement of the islet problem. This gave a reason to the Japanese prime minister to say after he returned back to Japan that the Russian president shared his point of view regarding the territory in dispute. It is worth mentioning that neither the Kremlin, nor the Russian Foreign Minister released any statements on that.

This is, probably, why the deputies of the Sakhalin regional administration decided to take care of the issue themselves. As they think, the recent agreements in Moscow violated the agreement, which was achieved in 1945. In addition to that, the deputies think that it also violated the San Francisco treaty of 1951, which affirmed Japan’s refusal to claim for Kurile islands.

The deputies also pointed out in their address that Russia and Japan’s action plan ignored numerous statements from the Sakhalin regional administration, from the parliamentary association of the Far East and Baikal regions. The text of the address has not reached Moscow yet. The deputies are going to send their paper to the Kremlin, to the Russian Federation government, to the Foreign Ministry of Russia, as well as to the Security Council, the State Duma, to the Federation Council and to law-making bodies of Federation units. The document is to be sent there in the beginning of the next week.

For the time being, it is hard to say, in which way the Federal government is going to react to the initiative of the Sakhalin deputies. If there is something to happen, then, most likely, it will be like this: “This is a hard issue and it needs to be settled down, however, giving away the Kurile islets to Japan is out of the question.” Will an answer like that satisfy Sakhalin fighters for Russia’s integrity? Not likely, for the deputies have already complained of their previous documents being ignored.

To all appearances, Moscow will have to do a lot in order to settle relations down both with Japan and with Russian deputies (not only deputies, by the way). A territorial compromise is not likely to happen on the threshold of elections. What happens after is another question. There is one thing clear at the moment – the issue of the Kurile islands will remain a problem for a long time. Time will show, so to speak.

Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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