Kurile Islands problems is not the centre of the universe for Japan
arrived in Japan with an official visit on Sunday. The Russian
president's last visit to the Japanese capital took place five
years ago: the visit to Japan has been repeatedly delayed since
2000 on account of Japan's intention to discuss the problem of
South Kurile Islands, although Russia strongly refused to negotiate
on the matter.
visit to Japan has not brought any progress in the regulation
of the long-standing "Kurile conflict" between the two
countries, although it was not a formal courtesy visit of the
Russian president either. Russia and Japan agreed upon Russia's
membership in the World Trade Organization, about gas deliveries
and about simplification of visa rules.
of visas is highly important for millions of citizens living in
Russia's Eastern Siberia and Far East. Russian and Japanese officials
agreed to consider the issue of simplifying visa rules for those
partaking in business, cultural, scientific, sports and other
programs. The new agreement on visas is supposed to become the
first step in attracting Japanese tourists to Russia - the Japanese
are known for their addiction to traveling all over the world.
between Russia and Japan became the central subject of the talks.
"Japan is highly interested in Russian energy carriers. Various
projects in the oil and gas industry may help Japan solve its
energy problem," deputy director of the Moscow-based center
for political technologies, Boris Makarenko told Pravda.Ru.
citizens took to the streets on the day of Vladimir Putin's arrival
in Japan, trying to make Russia return four of the claimed Kurile
Islands to Japan. The demonstrators were rather expressive with
their protests: the police even had to protect the front entrance
to the building of the Russian embassy.
As soon as
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro
Koizumi appeared at a press conference after the completion of
official negotiations, the first question from reporters touched
upon the most problematic question in Russian-Japanese relations.
"We will do our best to solve the problem. This is what I
came here for, and this will be the goal of Mr. Koizumi's forthcoming
visit to Moscow," the Russian leader said.
absence of peace treaty between Russia and Japan is definitely
an obstacle: Japanese companies are used to working under guarantees
provided by other states. However, this is not the problem that
cannot be solved," Boris Makarenko said.
As for the
question of Kurile Islands, this is not the most important problem
that the Japanese administration has to deal with now. Japan has
a lot of other questions to dwell upon at the moment: the relations
with China and the two Koreas, the legacy of WWII. It may only
seem that the attention of the Japanese administration is entirely
concentrated on the territorial problem of the Kurile Islands,
one of which is just a stone desert. Japan is much more interested
in the perspective to receive oil and gas from Russia, for instance.
its turn is interested in Japan's participation in the utilization
of decommissioned Russian submarines docked in Far Eastern ports.
Japan previously agreed to assign up to eight million dollars
for the utilization of one Russian nuclear submarine, whereas
Russia refused to let Japan control the utilization process. The
problem has apparently been solved now: Japan will fund the utilization
of five Russian nuclear cruisers in the future.
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