Nihon Keizai Shimbun: “special system” of Russia and Japan in the issue of “Northern territories”

Нихон кэйдзай: «особая система» России и Японии в вопросе «северных территорий»

On 22 November the Minister of foreign Affairs of Japan, Toshimitsu Motegi (Toshimitsu Motegi) held a meeting in Nagoya with the Minister of foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov. The parties confirmed their intention to expand joint economic activities on the “Northern territories”. The foreign Ministers of Russia and Japan also agreed to develop a dialogue about the beginning of the implementation of projects in tourism and recycling from 2020. In addition, agreement was reached on the visit to Russia Motegi in mid-December. The goal of the government of Japan is to strengthen cooperation in the economic sphere and thus to achieve the development of negotiations on the South Kuril Islands.Minister Lavrov timed visit to Japan for the summit of foreign Ministers of the G20, which kicked off on November 22. The meeting with his Russian counterpart became the second after Motegi was appointed Minister of foreign Affairs of Japan in September.At the beginning of the talks, he said: “I want to unleash the potential of Sino-Russian relations. Working with Laurel, I will try my best to achieve new development.” Lavrov said: “The main thing now — to establish a process of our cooperation, which will bring the relations to a qualitatively new level in all without exception areas, including economic and foreign policy”.During the talks, the sides appreciated the progress of the projects in the framework of the joint business. In the period from August to September of this year, experts in the field of recycling, visited Hokkaido and Northern territories. From October 30 to November 1, on Kunashir and Iturup was a Japanese tour group in the framework of implementation of projects in the tourist area.In the course of negotiations at the level of Deputy foreign Ministers of Russia and Japan, which took place in Moscow in early November, it was decided to establish a working group at the level of foreign Ministers for a comprehensive discussion of joint business activity.In 2017, Russia and Japan has identified five priority areas for projects. In addition to recycling and tourism, it is — aquaculture, greenhouse cultivation of vegetables and wind power. These issues will be discussed by the working group.To create a legal structure to specify joint projects difficult. If Japan will conduct activities on “Northern territories” under Russian law, it would mean recognizing Russian sovereignty over the Islands. As for tourism, the first trip took place in the framework of a visa-free exchange. The parties intend to discuss the preparation of the “special system”, which will not question the legal position of both Russia and Japan, as well as other policy moves, however, such precedents was not, therefore, during the approvals can be difficult.Motegi also shared with the Bay Japan seeks to concretize economic cooperation of eight items: medicine, increased productivity and so on, the agreement in 2016, was signed by the leaders of Russia and Japan. The point is to deepen the trust-based economy.With regard to the territorial negotiations, Lavrov and Motegi once again confirmed their intention to accelerate negotiations on a peace Treaty based on Soviet-Japanese Declaration of 1956. They took into account the agreement reached during the summit in Singapore in November 2018. In the Soviet-Japanese Declaration of 1956 refers to the transfer of Japan of Islands Habomai and Shikotan once a peace Treaty. During a visit to Russia in mid-December Motegi plans to exchange views about the peace agreement.Russia never ceases to emphasize that the “Northern territories” legally become Russian in accordance with the fair results of the Second world war. The differences with Japan, which for many years demanded the return of the island, still serious.19 November, the eve of Lavrov’s visit to Japan, Deputy foreign Minister of Russia Igor Morgulov during his meeting with the Russian media noted that fundamental differences remain, and stated that it would be difficult to develop a negotiation, not overcome these differences.Also one of the tasks is to prepare the summits. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin was planning to meet on the sidelines of the APEC summit, which was held in November in Chile, however, the summit did not take place.

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