On August 28, 2020, Shinzo Abe, Chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, unexpectedly announced his resignation as Prime Minister. He explained this by his deteriorating health condition but promised to serve until his successor was elected on September 17, 2020. One of the candidates for the post is Shigeru Ishiba, former general secretary of the LDPJ, who had previously been the minister of defense and head of agriculture in the country’s “rising sun.
Japanese media and the public have already managed to assess the first initiative of the candidate, who has not yet received power in their hands. Ishiba suggested reviewing the number of Japanese municipalities, increasing them from 1718 to 1724, i.e. by 6 units. Under Japanese law, regions in need are provided with substantial government support from the more affluent. What a surprise to the Japanese themselves when they learned that Ishiba has included six municipalities in its list of Southern Kurils, which Japan calls the “northern territories” (three islands – Kunashir, Iturup, and Shikotan, and the uninhabited Habomai Ridge).
Added are northern territories illegally occupied by Russia.
– Shigeru Ishiba’s representative explained to the media.
The politician’s initiative was criticized even by his classmates. After that, many Japanese, including those “worried about the Kurils,” began asking different questions. For example, they began to wonder how Ishiba managed to fit exactly six municipalities on the above-mentioned islands? Some suggested not to be modest and to add a dozen more, but to “develop” not to forget to allocate as much money as possible to the taxpayers.
The Japanese were outraged in media comments and social networks. In their opinion, first, it is necessary to return the islands and then organize the self-government bodies there. They believe that there is no sense in the functioning of the proposed municipalities. Some called Isiba’s initiative “a bad show”, while others thought that it simply “ignores reality”.
The northern territories will not come back anyway, even if a certain amount is allocated from the budget to develop local self-government there. It doesn’t matter how many local governments are there, because Russians still control the islands.
– wrote one of the Japanese, whose opinions most accurately reflect the prevailing opinion.