Despite the latest statements of the Japanese side that Tokyo “has full sovereignty over the northern territories”, the new head of the Japanese government, 71-year-old Yoshihide Suga is determined to continue the dialogue with Moscow and does not intend to spoil relations between the two countries, Oleg Kazakov, a member of the Central Board of Russia-Japan Society, told TOP NEWS correspondent.
According to the political expert, Tokyo will continue the dialogue with our country despite the territorial claims.
“If Yoshihide Suga follows the directions set by the previous Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, there will be no failure in Russian-Japanese relations in the near future. It is premature to say that Suga will build a stricter policy with Russia,” – said Oleg Kazakov.
He added that in Japan, of course, there are destructive nationalist forces, which in the case of coming to power (the next parliamentary elections in this country are to be held no later than the end of October 2021) will focus exclusively on the territorial issue.
“Now I think that Suga will act rather inertia in the Russian direction, the main thing for him is the economy and solution of other tasks. But Japan’s position will still remain the same as it was, and we should not wait for changes in their attitude towards the “northern territories”. They do believe that the small Kuril Islands are part of Japan, and if you look at the maps, the Southern Kurils are listed as part of their territory. Therefore, there is nothing new in recent statements about “full sovereignty” over the Kurils,” said a member of the Central Board of Russia-Japan Society.
On the assumption that Japan made such a statement after the change of government quite quickly, and it may be a kind of “game to the public inside the country,” the political scientist replied that perhaps there are elements, including domestic policy because of the return of “northern territories” Japanese society will only welcome, which may somehow affect the future relations with Russia.
“We know that there was a telephone conversation between Yoshihide Suga and Vladimir Putin before that. According to the data that is publicly available, we can see that Russia and Japan are placing different emphasis on cooperation. Russia focuses on economic, humanitarian ties, and others, while Japan puts the signing of the agreement to solve the territorial problem at the forefront”, – said Oleg Kazakov.
The expert did not agree that the negotiations between Russia and Japan are negatively influenced by the United States.
“In my opinion, everything is much more complicated here, for the simple reason that if Russia and Japan had a common goal and understanding of how to solve the territorial problem, both sides could come to a compromise that could be implemented. The countries could move forward and achieve some results. And since a compromise has not been found, it is not quite correct to say that someone interfered and ruined everything there. Indeed, in both Soviet-Japanese and Russian-Japanese relations, the U.S. often played the role of a side that put sticks in the development of bilateral relations. This is an obvious fact. But, nevertheless, both Russia and Japan, as we know, are interested in cooperation, regardless of the U.S. opinion,” – said Oleg Kazakov, adding that now the Japanese Prime Minister is beginning to work actively on foreign policy, and he has already managed to communicate with many leaders of the G-7 countries.
“It is difficult to say now how much Suga will lobby for relations with Russia because there are different opinions on this issue. It is more profitable for our country that the Japanese act in the same way as Abe did. That would improve our relations. It is more profitable for both Russia and Japan,” concluded Oleg Kazakov.
As TOP NEWS earlier reported, new Secretary-General of Japanese Cabinet Katsunobu Kato said that his country would like to further develop relations with Russia in various areas. At the same time, he stressed that Japan “has full sovereignty over the northern territories”.