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Oct 8, 2021
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Fumio Kishida: “Without the resolution of the territorial issue, there can be no peace treaty with Russia”

Undertaking to build a “new capitalism”, Japan presents Russia with an ultimatum on the Kuril Islands

Chief Executive Fumio Kishida delivered a keynote speech for the hundredth in the history of the institution of prime ministers in Japan.

He announced his intention to “build a new capitalism.” It is about striving “to put the world’s third largest economy on a growth track and redistribute the fruits of this success to create a stronger middle class.” The new prime minister acknowledges that Japanese society is unfair, the fruits of growth go to a minority, and neoliberal politics has created “Deep divide between the haves and have-nots”

Kishida’s words about income redistribution are believed to have been in response to criticism of Abe’s policies that boosted corporate earnings and stock prices, but did not reach the middle class. And while the new leader does not openly criticize the “abenomics” of previous prime ministers Abe and Suga, he promises to prevent deflation by radically easing monetary policy and budget spending, and to introduce tax breaks for companies that raise wages.

Such promises are not more like a long-term strategy, but more like an election campaign. For the leadership of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDP) fears that open criticism by the population of the country of the policies of previous cabinets may lead to a significant loss of this party’s parliamentary mandates in the upcoming elections to the Japanese parliament.

“As part of his strategy to stimulate economic growth, the Prime Minister announced that his government will invest in cutting edge areas such as artificial intelligence and push for legislation to prevent technology leakage to foreign competitors.”, – quoted Kishida news agency “Kyodo News”.

Kishida promises to the population to improve the government’s response to the situation with the spread of the coronavirus. Promises to prepare adequate amounts of booster drugs, improve treatment, and pass legislation that will make it easier for the government to impose travel restrictions and provide medical resources in the event of future new waves of infection.

Recognizing, in fact, a lack of understanding by Prime Minister Suga and his cabinet of the importance of communicating with the people and building trust, whether with the public or with other countries, Kishida advocated building a “kind and warm society based on human ties.” And he quoted an African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. “

As for foreign policy, its new prime minister will build on close cooperation with the United States, primarily in the field of military cooperation. The object of joint military efforts, which is named the People’s Republic of China, which is allegedly dangerously increasing its economic and military power, has been confirmed.

One of the important areas for the implementation of the concept “Free and open Indo-Pacific region” Japan is considering its active participation in the four-sided organization created against China – the bloc of the United States, Japan, Australia and India. At the same time, Kishida is not against the establishment with China of “stable relations in the interests of the region and the international community as a whole.” However, he warns that he will “say what needs to be said.”

The demonstration of the Japanese prime minister’s full orientation towards the American military strategy was manifested in the fact that, according to some, the Japanese government was offended that Tokyo was not invited to the military association of the USA, Great Britain and Australia directed against China (and it is possible against Russia). However, the offense, I think, is in vain, because the American “unsinkable aircraft carrier” Japan, aimed against China and Russia, will for a long time remain the most important element of the US military strategy not only in East Asia, but in the world as a whole.

Among the primary military opponents of Japan, Kishida also considers the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which allegedly poses a threat. The new prime minister said that “to counter threats, including North Korea’s recent resumption of ballistic missile testing, the government will revise its 2013 Abe National Security Strategy, National Defense Program Guidelines and Medium-Term Defense Program.”

At the same time, responding to the aspirations of the Japanese, Kishida found it necessary to confirm that he was ready to meet with the leader of North Korea Kim Jong-un “without preconditions” in order to resolve the issue of the kidnapping of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s. However, the DPRK government believes that there are no more Japanese survivors on North Korean territory who could be returned.

Judging by the statements of the new prime minister and the comments of the Japanese media, Kishida is not a supporter of Abe’s “diplomacy of reconciliation” with Russia. In a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the occasion of his inauguration, the Japanese prime minister reportedly announced his readiness to negotiate a peace treaty on the basis of existing agreements, including those reached in Singapore following Putin’s meeting with former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2018 “. However, his position differs from the position of “Shinzo’s friend”, who agreed to solve the so-called territorial issue in stages, having first received the Shikotan and Ploskie islands promised by Khrushchev, in Japanese Habomai.

Kishida harshly presents Moscow with an ultimatum demand “to return all northern territories”, that is, the South Kuril Islands belonging to Russia. And only in this case, he agrees to sign the Japanese-Russian peace treaty, which has long lost its meaning, because all the issues that usually make up the content of peace treaties were resolved 65 years ago in the 1956 Soviet-Japanese joint declaration signed by the governments and ratified by the parliaments of the two countries.

In his keynote speech to parliament, Kishida stated: “I aim to continue working on (Japanese-Russian) relations in a comprehensive manner to resolve the territorial issue around the northern territories and conclude a peace treaty with Russia.”

And he especially emphasized: “There can be no peace treaty without the resolution of the territorial issue.”

The question naturally arises: can Russia agree to continue negotiations on a peace treaty on such conditions that violate its Constitution? Judging by the information of RIA Novosti, it turns out that it can, because the agency’s message says that in a telephone conversation between Kisida and Putin, the parties “Confirmed their commitment to progress in the negotiations on the conclusion of a peace treaty between the countries on the basis of the agreements reached, including the agreement of 2018”

It seems that the Russian Foreign Ministry should clarify how to combine Kishida’s ultimatum with Moscow’s intention to continue negotiations on a peace treaty.

Photo: REUTERS /POOL New

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