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Japan-Russia Peace Treaty Negotiations – Past Developments and Future Points” by Hironori Fushita

by , 12 Feb 2019 | in articles | no comments yet

A summit meeting between Japan and Russia took place on January 22. At the press conference following the meeting, Prime Minister Abe and President Putin emphasized that they are aiming for a mutually acceptable solution regarding the territorial issue and intend to further deepen cooperative relations between the two countries, mainly in economic areas. 

Since Prime Minister Abe announced at the Japan-Russia Summit Meeting held in Singapore on November 14, 2018 that he had reached an agreement with President Putin to accelerate negotiations on a peace treaty based on the Japanese-Soviet Joint Declaration signed in 1956, the two leaders have met in three straight months and have accelerated negotiations on a peace treaty as indicated in the Prime Minister’s comments. This column looks back at previous negotiations between Japan and Russia and addresses a few points regarding how negotiations might proceed.

1  Background to the territorial problem
The primary reason that Japan and Russia have not concluded a peace treaty more than 70 years after the war ended is the lack of a solution to the territorial problem between the two countries. Let’s start by briefly reviewing the background of the territorial problem between Japan and Russia. 
The Soviet Union’s entry into the fight against Japan at the end of the Second World War was the primary cause of the territorial problem between Japan and Russia. The United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union concluded the Yalta Conference Agreement in February 1945 as the outcome of combat on the European front was becoming evident, and the Soviet Union agreed to enter the battle against Japan within 2-3 months after Germany’s defeat on the condition that it acquire the southern half of Sakhalin, which was lost in the Russo-Japanese War, and the Kuril Islands (the Treaty of Commerce and Navigation between Japan and Russia in 1855 put the national boundary for Japan and Russia between Etorofu and Uruppu islands and the Treaty of Saint Petersburg (Karafuto-Chishima Exchange Treaty) in 1875 gave all of the Kurils through northernmost Shumshu island to Japan). Additionally, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union met in Potsdam in July 1945 and issued the Potsdam Declaration signed by the US, the UK, and the Republic of China (the Soviet Union signed the the Declaration on August 8, 1945) that called on Japan to surrender. However, since Japan did not respond to the Potsdam Declaration, the Soviet Union ignored the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact, which was still valid at that time, and declared war against Japan. It started attacking Manchuria and the Kuril Islands on August 9. The Soviet Union continued its attack even after Japan accepted the Potsdam Declaration and occupied the Kuril Islands, including the four islands just north of Hokkaido between August 28 and September 5. It absorbed these islands as its own territory in February 1946. These events led to the Northern Territories problem that continues to the present.


NOTE: This paper has been published in the Japan Institute of International Affairs.  Opinions expressed in this article are those of the Author.

Food, Faminines, and the Planet

by , 23 Jan 2019 | in articles | no comments yet

An interesting article on the strategies to cope with the threat to future populations’ food security due to the way we eat and produce food: "Eat Plants, Save the Planet", by Tharanga Yakupitiyage. 

UNITED NATIONS, Jan 21 2019 (IPS) - While the modern agricultural system has helped stave off famines and feed the world’s 7 billion residents, the way we eat and produce food is posing a threat to future populations’ food security. With an expected increase in population to 10 billion in 2050, ensuring food security is more important than ever. However, current food production is among the largest sources of environmental degradation across the world. f such production and consumption patterns continue, we will soon exceed our planetary boundaries such climate change and land use needed to survive and thrive. [more]


"Nepal, Political Deadlock and Delays in the Realization of the Process of Peace and Reconciliation", by Enrica Garzilli

by , 9 Apr 2013 | in articles | no comments yet

You can read an article by Enrica Garzilli on the socio-political situation in Nepal in 2012- January 2013. It is titled "Nepal, Political Deadlock and Delays in the Realization of the Process of Peace and Reconciliatio", in Asia Maior 2013.



The mystery of the Indus Valley Civilization

by , 2 May 2009 | in articles | no comments yet

While the attention is focused on the the Indian election, a few authoritative online magazines have written on the Indus Valley Civilization (of which the main city were Mohenjo Daro and Harappa), which has not been fully deciphered yet. The main issues are: was the civilization written, and therefore had a literate culture? Are the signs on seals symbols only, or characters of a script? Is there any link between Harappan and Vedic cultures?

I want to point out two articles because the first one is published on Wired, the famous tech magazine, and the second is a sort of summary of the whole debate and is published on Asia Times. We cannot but agree with Raja Murthy, the author of the last article, who writes:

If the Indus Valley has an equivalent to the sensational 18th-century discovery of the Rosetta Stone, considered one of the greatest-ever historical finds, that would indeed confirm whether the Indus symbols are a written language - one possibly opening the doorway to an unknown civilization. [...]