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Apr 20, 2022
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The hangover from the frenzy of anti-Russian sanctions can be severe

Settling scores with Putin, Kishida risks his post as prime minister

It is known that Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida initially opposed the attempts of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to court the Russians, promising them “mountains of gold” of investment and broad economic cooperation for the Russian Kuriles.

Having occupied the premier’s chair, Kishida, who did not shy away from Russophobia, from the very beginning planned to take “revenge”. He had nothing to lose in relations with Moscow. Kishida showed his dislike for Russia and personally for V. Putin, taking advantage of the call of his overlord the United States to impose “hellish sanctions” on our country in order to “tear to shreds” its economy. Let’s not list again everything that was invented in Tokyo in order to “destroy” Russia. The Japanese government has practically banned the export to Russia of the entire range of goods purchased by our country. First of all, high-tech products.

With particular malice, Kishida and his entourage sanctioned V. Putin and even his children, demonstrating samurai vindictiveness. And in this he surpassed the leaders of other G7 countries. But Putin has repeatedly admitted his sincere respect and affection for Japan and the Japanese. Meanwhile, not only Kishida and the political class of the Land of the Rising Sun, but also the overwhelming majority of the Japanese consider our country, if not an enemy, then an unfriendly state.

The author of these lines, working in Japan, witnessed the sanctions against the USSR when a limited contingent of Soviet troops entered Afghanistan and the flight of a South Korean Boeing that invaded the airspace of the Soviet Union with provocative goals was intercepted. There was also a boycott of the Moscow Olympics, and the termination of air traffic, and the suspension of tours of art groups. However, then the pragmatic Japanese, protecting their interests, were in no hurry to curtail mutually beneficial trade and economic cooperation. If restrictions were introduced, they were temporary. There was also no talk of any expulsion of Soviet diplomats and employees of the trade mission.

Today, Kishida, in her desire to infringe on V. Putin more painfully, and with him all the inhabitants of our country, is clearly going too far. Which, by the way, his compatriots are already telling him. Even one of the key members of Kishida’s cabinet, the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Koichi Hagiuda, expressed fears of the negative impact of anti-Russian sanctions on Japan: “We will be closely monitoring the impact of the current measures (on the economy). We have concerns about the impact on business and daily life due to the situation in Ukraine in general, not only because of the current measures. By order of Prime Minister Kishida, we intend to consider response measures in connection with the impact on economic activity and the lives of citizens.”.

First of all, we are talking about Kisida’s intention to reduce, and then completely abandon Russian energy sources – coal and oil. And then from LNG from Sakhalin fields, in the development of which the giants of Japanese business, the Mitsui and Mitsubishi concerns, have long and profitably participated. By the way, their owners did not support the proposals expressed in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Japan to “punish Russia” to stop importing LNG.

Timber has been an important export to Japan since Soviet times. And so the Japanese importers of timber sounded the alarm, fixing that the prices for this familiar Russian product have risen sharply, reaching a record level. In March, they rose by almost 60% compared to the situation a year ago, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported, citing data from the Bank of Japan. According to her, a number of factors, including the situation in Ukraine, affected the rise in prices. According to the newspaper, in Japanese timber imports to Russia, some positions accounted for up to 80% of purchases. However, from January to December 31, 2022, the Russian Federation introduced increased export rates for certain types of timber. Then the crisis around Ukraine and sanctions against Russia began to influence the situation, under the influence of which some importers were forced to refuse to purchase Russian timber. Tokyo has already introduced a ban on the import of four types of wood from Russia.

And most of all in Japan they fear Moscow’s counter-sanctions in the field of fisheries. Red Lighthouse writes: “For fishing (in Russian waters. – A.K.), the Japanese side is annually allocated over 2.1 thousand tons of the following aquatic biological resources (in tons): pollock – 995, Far Eastern flounder – 12, cod – 110, greenlings – 777, spiky cheeks – 4, sea bass – 23, giant Doflein octopus – 168, navaga – 35, commander’s squid – 3, sand octopus – 48, Pacific squid – 17, gobies – 2, rays – 18, sharks – 2, hyperglyph – 6. And this is just one of the agreements.

According to the statistics of the Sakhalin customs, over the period from 2020 to 2021, over 17 thousand tons of seafood were exported to the ports of Japan through the checkpoints of the Korsakov, Kholm and Yuzhno-Kuril trade ports (live crab – 3.19 thousand tons, crab limbs – 0, 11 thousand tons, crab meat – 0.7 tons, sea urchin – 13.93 thousand tons, kelp – 63 tons).

And here are the statistics of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan, where Russia ranks third as a country exporting aquatic biological resources: in 2021, products worth more than 138 billion yen were purchased. The share of imported Russian crab and sea urchin is about 50% of the total”.

There is already panic in Japan about the fact that “the loss of one of the key suppliers of marine flora and fauna will be a serious test for Tokyo – this will not only deal a blow to the economy of the island state, but also create a real threat to the food security of the northeast of Japan … First of all, the Japanese seafood market will shudder with a multiple increase in prices ».

“Moscow is the key to the survival of the fishing cities of Japan” – this is how he called his article in daily mail Daniel Loissink, who studied the situation in the north of the Japanese island of Hokkaido, bordering Russia. Here is his story: “The consequences of the deterioration of Russian-Japanese relations due to the crisis in Ukraine hit Nemuro harder than other communities in the country.

This time, the concern is about the fate of the annual negotiations between the governments of the two countries on setting a quota for Japan to catch salmon and trout spawning in the Amur River. The first negotiations took place in 1957, and each time the process was completed by March, leaving enough time before the start of the drift-net fishing season, which starts annually on April 10th. Negotiations have long been considered almost the only diplomatic channel between the two countries, even in the era of the Cold War.

This year they are yet to be completed. Insiders in the Japanese government say the delay is due to Moscow’s outrage over Tokyo’s joining anti-Russian economic sanctions. It is important for the Japanese fishery complex that Moscow participate in three other annual negotiations related to the production of kelp and the Pacific saury fishery on the richest commercial objects in the world.”

“We cannot live here without fishing, said Tsuryuyuki Hanasaku, an elderly fisherman whose company mainly fishes and processes Pacific saury, to the author of the article. – For us, it’s a matter of survival.”.

If Moscow tightens its position on fisheries in response to Japanese sanctions, Japanese fishermen and consumers, as has happened more than once in history, may make serious claims to their government and Prime Minister Kishida personally, which will inevitably affect his rating, and then, possibly a political career.

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