A draw

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, meets with former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori in the Kremlin in Moscow on Thursday. Discussing the long-standing territorial dispute with Japan, Putin—a judoka—suggested the issue could be resolved by “hikiwake,” meaning a draw, without going into details. Putin said he hoped that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would visit Moscow this year. 

  • -9

    some14some

    Draw? Putin won, Japan to withdraw....

  • 5

    Sherman

    This buffoon should stay on a golf course.

  • 4

    JonathanJo

    Paper, scissors, stone? I'd wager Putin always does Stone.

  • 5

    sfjp330

    The Japanese themselves have become increasingly open to expanding economic ties with Russia despite the Kurile Islands territorial dispute, removing another incentive for Russia to make major concessions. Russians can challenge Japan aggressively regarding the islands and still secure considerable Japanese investment and commerce. In the long term, one would expect the Japanese to make the most concessions, since China's continuing rise presents a greater threat to Japan's interests. In addition, better ties between Russia and Japan might prove to be important for near future geopolitical realignment that sees Russia adopt a more guarded approach to China. Until such a softening occurs on the Japanese side, Russia has little incentive to change its approach to the island dispute, and many reasons to maintain its tougher stance.

  • -2

    Novenachama

    Mr. Putin has suggested in the past that the occupation of the Kuriles had been a mistake while Mr. Mori had stated that Japan was not going to bargain away the claimed South Kuril Islands and quickly resolving this dispute would be the best way to promote peace and security throughout the Asia-Pacific region. But no significant progress was ever made. Thus such a situation strained bi-lateral relations and continued to block normal development of both political and economic cooperation between Japan and Russia. However Japan will probably continue to pursue and settle this territorial dispute because legally and historically it is an inalienable part of the country. Since Mr. Mori is a good friend of Vladimir with a close relationship, he probably took some time off from the golf course to help Mr. Abe. Therefore from a global point of view resolving this conflict would be a positive step and probably turn the northern part of Asia-Pacific into a realm of both security and stability in the future. Of course China will feel threaten. Whether this outstanding dispute ever gets resolved? It's a unsolved mystery.

  • -5

    GW

    Lets an embarassment on the left & a dictator on the right, what good could possibly come of this.

    Japan you should have settled this back in the 80s early 90s latest, your collective economic power has & continues to evaporate at an alarming rate, you chance came & went, Russia is simply being polite is all

  • 0

    paulinusa

    I'm sure it's the camera perspective compressing the distance , but Mori looks like a giant compared to Putin.

  • -6

    splksgt96

    In the closing days of WWII a beaten Japan on her knees the USSR saw an opportunity to get a piece of the action by snatching the four northern islands which were Japanese and never gave them back. The Soviets wanted half of Hokkaido until President Truman finally stepped in. The USSR in the mid 1950's offered to give two of them back and nearly succeeded until Japan came to her senses. It would be a mistake just to conclude a peace treaty to accept two of the islands again.

  • -6

    AKBfan

    What an idiotic commnet from Putin. Trots out his cod-Japanese from being a judoka and that's it? Is Mori supposed to be impressed?

  • -1

    Droll Quarry

    Mori plays golf while ships sink.......

  • 5

    smithinjapan

    I was talking about this with an older man today and he said he was really happy the two countries seemed to be aiming towards mending fences. He explained that Putin suggested Japan take the two Southern-most of the four islands, hence the 'draw' part. The man did not go on to say Russia would keep the two Northern-most islands, but added his own two cents saying that, "Russia NEEDS Japan, and all Russians hate Chinese," (that came out of nowhere all of a sudden), and continued, "Japan may accept these two islands knowing Russia will offer the other two islands later and Japan will get all four."

    I just nodded as he spoke, doing my best not to smirk. Japan will not accept any deal that says any of the four islands belongs to Russia, even only temporarily, because it would be black-truck suicide back home. The two countries need each other, for sure -- Japan needs the oil and Russia needs the investment in infrastructure (which it can also get more of from China, so be careful Japan!) -- but as sfjp330 mentioned above, the investment and oil can easily come without any settlement of the island issue. Japan especially needs to increase it's fuel imports given the situation with the NPPs at home. Japan SHOULD agree to having the two islands back, and Russia keeping the other two, and that's the end of it. But they won't, and so Russia will continue to effectively own the islands in their entirety while Japan can only once again, due to misplaced pride, lament missing a prime chance to get something instead of nothing.

  • 1

    gogogo

    Former PM? There are hundreds of them and they send the PM that called I.T. "it-o"

  • 0

    Konsta

    sfjp330, words worth of gold.

    Now, why Mori. If one can't understand something, it does not mean that the move is stupid. It just means that one can't understand. The choice of Mori speaks volumes. For one, he voiced (I think) an idea about sharing the islands. For two, his suggestion of a "reasonable" deal was 3 (Japan) to 1 (Russia, but the biggest one). This strikes the middle ground between current Russian proposal of 2:2 (if it is still valid) and the Japanese 4 to 0. Yet, his proposal somewhat leans in Japan's favour. He has just right personal position for the negotiations. I would send him myself. He is the perfect man to figure out if Putin is still up to an exchange, and if yes, what is possible to make out of the current situation. Putin, so far, suggested a "draw".

  • 0

    TigersTokyoDome

    Draw? Putin won, Japan to withdraw....

    ? Japan to withdraw? Withdraw to where? Okinawa? A tip for posters here, know your world history before posting flippant remarks. This meeting was over the Russian occupation of the Northern Territories which Russia already inhabits. Therefore the only side to potentially withdraw are the Russians, who sneaked in when the Japanese had already lost the pacific war.

  • -2

    avigator

    Japanese are better off not even mention anything about these islands. Russians will then wonder what is going on, and might even talk about giving them away. I give Abe one year and we will see another PM 2.5 again.

  • 1

    Konsta

    TigersTokyoDomeFeb. 22, 2013 - 11:26PM JST ... A tip for posters here, know your world history before posting flippant remarks. This meeting was over the Russian occupation of the Northern Territories which Russia already inhabits. Therefore the only side to potentially withdraw are the Russians, who sneaked in when the Japanese had already lost the pacific war.

    Why don't you go and study history yourself. Not everyone had a privilege to study your white-washed version. Sometimes, I really agree with Smithinjapan that people with Such education and views can not and will not be able to get anything from Russians.

    Such arrogance! Russians sneaked, SNEAKED?!

    Do you know when and where Soviets started the war against Japan? Do you know anything about Manchuria? Do I need to enumerate 5 (!) military campaigns the Soviets were conducting against Japanese? Who cares about your Pacific war, if Japanese occupied half of Asia? It was not sneaking, but a frontal assault, starting directly from Soviet borders, and Japan lost ALSO as a result of it, and not solely because of the Pacific war. More than that, Japan lost exactly as the result of this, because that defeat was final and hit the remaining Japanese military the hardest.

    That is why, it is extremely important that Japan chooses for negotiations people, who are not arrogant, and who get at least some idea about what was going on, and who is worth what, like, for example, Mori.

  • 0

    TigersTokyoDome

    Such arrogance! Russians sneaked, SNEAKED?!

    Sneaked is a very good description of how the Russians took that land. I mean, during the whole of world war II the Russians never had the balls to take on the Japanese in an even all-out conflict now did they. They just waited until there was nothing left in Japan, defeated by the Americans and with two atomic bombs and the firebombing of Tokyo and Osaka. The Emperor of Japan was literally on the American aircraft carrier signing the surrender when the Russians sneaked onto those islands. The Russians first declaration of war was not until after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Yes, sneaked is a very good description indeed don't you think?

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