Northern Territories and Beyond: Russian, Japanese, and American Perspectives

Northern Territories and Beyond: Russian, Japanese, and American Perspectives

Northern Territories and Beyond: Russian, Japanese, and American Perspectives

Northern Territories and Beyond: Russian, Japanese, and American Perspectives

Synopsis

In this edited collection diplomats, academic researchers, and journalists survey modern Russian-Japanese relations. An attempt is made to go back to the origins of the conflict in their relations, to analyze their current status, and to propose an agenda for the future. The authors argue that the problems Moscow and Tokyo inherited from the decades of the Cold War cannot be resolved through a narrow bilateral approach and will require constructure U.S. participation. The problem of the Northern Territories is examined in the context of the North Pacific regional security environment. The authors explore the prospects for cooperative regional engagement, a nuclear build-down in the North Pacific, and possible involvement of the UN in the resolution of the territorial dispute.

Excerpt

This volume is the latest stage of a trilateral project that, since its inception in September 1992, has brought together a small community of people from Japan, Russia, and the United States bound by their common desire to contribute to the improvement of relations between Moscow and Tokyo in the post-Cold War world. What brought us together was a diplomatic crisis caused by sudden cancellation of President Boris Yeltsin's visit to Japan early in September 1992. Buoyed by the enthusiasm of the many participants in the project and the support of the United States Institute of Peace, we have pursued our belief that despite the negative role played by the forces of history, the relationship between Russia and Japan can be turned around if both countries adopt a shared positive perspective on the future.

The end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union had raised hopes for a rapid improvement in the difficult and distrustful bilateral relationship between Japan and Russia. Although observers on both sides recognized that the long-standing territorial dispute over a number of islands in the Sea of Okhotsk would be a formidable barrier to developing closer ties, a sense of optimism had grown during the late 1980s and early 1990s. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the expectations of effective interaction between Russia and the G7 group of nations, as well as the involvement of Japan in Russian economic reforms, were very high. Therefore, the subject appears to have both global and regional dimensions.

Emerging hopes for a security reconciliation in the Northeast Asian and North Pacific regions and the very continuation of Russia's transition to new relations with the West depend, among other things, on the normalization of the Russia-Japan bilateral relationship. However, both nations are in the process of domestic change. Russia has experienced enormous . . .

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