Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions at a news conference following talks with Foreign Minister of Japan Taro Kono, Moscow, January 14, 2019
Ladies and gentlemen,
We have concluded lengthy talks with Foreign Minister of Japan Taro Kono concerning the instructions from Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe on expediting the work on a peace treaty based on the 1956 Soviet-Japanese Joint Declaration.
As proposed by our Japanese colleagues, we agreed that we will not hold a joint news conference today. And so I thought it necessary to say a few words about what happened today. Foreign Minister Taro Kono will hold a briefing later tonight.
As I have already said, based on the instructions from our leaders, we discussed the work on a peace treaty based on the 1956 Declaration. I do not want to deny that there are substantial differences. Initially, our positions were diametrically opposed, as we have said multiple times. Our leaders’ political will, which is to fully normalise the relationship between Russia and Japan, is prompting us to intensify this dialogue.
Today we have reaffirmed our readiness to work on the basis of the 1956 Declaration, which means, above all, the immutability of the very first step – the full recognition by our Japanese neighbours of the outcome of World War II, including the Russian Federation’s sovereignty over all the islands of the South Kuril Ridge. Moreover, it is codified in the UN Charter and in numerous documents that were signed at the end of World War II, in particular on September 2, 1945 and in a number of subsequent documents. This is our basic position and without a step in this direction it is very difficult to count on any progress on other issues.
We have pointed out to our friends from Japan the fact that sovereignty over the islands is not subject to discussion. This is the territory of the Russian Federation. We also pointed out that in Japan’s legislation; these islands are designated as “northern territories,” which, of course, is unacceptable for the Russian Federation.
We asked a series of questions about how our Japanese colleagues are planning to work toward overcoming this particular problem and how the Japanese domestic legislation issues will be addressed, because in this case, it is not about interfering in internal affairs, but about legislation regulating issues that our Japanese colleagues would like to discuss and, probably, resolve with the Russian Federation. We are at the very beginning of the road.
We have a common understanding that it is necessary to drastically improve the quality of our relations to discuss the most difficult issues. In general, our relations are on the rise – there is development in the trade, economic, investment and cultural spheres. A cross year project is currently underway between Russia and Japan, which arouses a keen and lively interest among our citizens and among the residents of the Japanese islands. About five hundred events have been held, and more are planned. However, one can do immeasurably more than what is being done now in the economy and especially in investment. The agreement reached a couple of years ago between the President of Russia and the Prime Minister of Japan on the organisation of joint economic activity in the South Kuril Islands is being implemented, but on a very unimpressive scale. Five projects are planned, but not anywhere near breakthrough areas. We also pointed this out to our Japanese colleagues today and agreed that more ambitious projects would be worked out through the relevant agencies so that the joint economic activity would be more tangible.
We also touched on a number of major agreements that have been under discussion for many years and have not been implemented still. In particular, there is a need to begin formal negotiations on a preferential agreement on the trade in services and investment; consultations on expanding the scope of the Intergovernmental Agreement on cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy; an agreement on the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes; an agreement between the Russian Federation and Japan on social security, and naturally on removing obstacles to visa-free travel.
We told our colleagues that in recent years Russia has offered many initiatives aimed either at liberalising the travel regime for various groups such as business people, tourists, participants in sports and cultural exchanges, or even introducing visa-free travel. This is our global goal. We believe there is no reason why Russia and Japan cannot introduce visa-free travel and begin, for example, with visa-free trips for residents of Sakhalin and Hokkaido.
The third area in which we should seriously upgrade our cooperation is foreign policy, international cooperation.
Today we analysed the positions of our countries on key global and regional issues. We noted that our positions in the UN do not always coincide, or rather do not coincide in most cases. I am referring to Japan’s voting on Russia’s initiatives. This does not reflect the level of trust that President of Russia Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe want to achieve.
We agreed that our deputies, as envisaged by the agreement of our leaders to step up work on the peace treaty on the basis of the 1956 Declaration, will continue detailed contacts to clarify each other’s positions. By the next meeting of President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which is due later this month, we will report on the implementation of their instructions.
One more important aspect that I must mention concerns security cooperation. The 1956 Declaration was signed when Japan did not have a military alliance treaty with the US. The treaty was signed in 1960, after which our Japanese colleagues departed from the 1956 Declaration. Now that we are resuming talks on the basis of this declaration, we must consider the drastic change that has taken place in Japan’s military alliances since then. At today’s talks we devoted attention to the US efforts to develop a global missile defence system in Japan with a view to militarising that part of the world and also to the actions that the US formally justifies by citing the need to neutralise the North Korean nuclear threat. In reality, these actions are creating security risks for Russia and China.
I tried to give a brief account of the range of issues (we discussed them in much more detail), that our Japanese friends and we should study, clear up and try to reach a mutually acceptable approach on, for each of them. I am sure that such qualitative improvement of our cooperation, reaching the level of a trust-based partnership, will help us achieve the goals set by President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Let me recall that they spoke in favour of seeking a solution to the peace treaty problem that will be unanimously supported by the people of our countries. This is a very difficult task but we are patient and willing to move toward a common understanding.
Question: Did Foreign Minister Taro Kono comment on the recent statement by Katsuyuki Kawai, Special Adviser for Foreign Affairs to President of the Liberal Democratic Party, to the effect that Tokyo is counting on Washington’s support in concluding a peace treaty with Moscow, and Shinzo Abe’s remark that local residents will not have to leave the islands following the transfer of Shikotan to Japan. What is the position of our country?
Sergey Lavrov: We have already made a corresponding statement regarding Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s remarks that Russian citizens will be able to stay on the islands after they are transferred under the sovereignty of Japan. Several days ago, immediately after Mr Abe had made the remarks that you mentioned, the Ambassador of Japan was invited to the Foreign Ministry. We stated how absolutely unacceptable such approaches are and how they completely contradict the understanding and agreements reached between the leaders of Russia and Japan on how to construct our peace treaty-related dialogue in the future.
With regard to Mr Kawai’s statement that the United States should be interested in concluding a treaty between Russia and Japan, as this would “strengthen the bloc” to contain China, as he put it, this is an outrageous statement. Today we stated this openly. Our Japanese colleagues noted that this gentleman does not represent the executive branch, but is an aide to the president of the Liberal Democratic Party. All this is probably true. The problem is that the president of the Liberal Democratic Party is Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. We have issued a serious warning about how inappropriate such statements are. We have also inquired more broadly about how independent Japan can be in addressing any issues at all with such heavy dependence on the United States. We were assured that Japan would make decisions based on its national interests. We would like it to be that way.
Question: My question is about recognising the outcome of World War II. You said that Japan must first recognise it. Are you satisfied with Japan’s answer to this question?
Sergey Lavrov: I presented our position on the results of World War II in great detail. I noted that in addition to the San Francisco Treaty, other documents and the 1956 Declaration, which, together with the San Francisco Treaty, form a single whole and draw the final line under World War II, there is also an important document known as the UN Charter, Art. 107 of which recognises the outcome of World War II in the form in which it was legally agreed upon by the allies, as inviolable. Today we once again reminded our Japanese colleagues about this in detail. I have not heard any objections to that.
Lavrov’s Doctrine: We are a Super Power and you are a vassal, and you lost the War. Shut up, sit down.
I love this man. Lavrov is brilliant.
Ditto. The speech is a fine example of what would be referred to as “diplomatic talk.” Subtle, yet unequivocal. Hope he lives long life!
I doubt that the US many Deep States will allow that, he is to respected globally, those same Deep States will have Lavrov’s health records so he does not live as long as he could live normally. That’s why the US Gov. approved 9/11.
Russia actually won WW11, not the US! US gave Hitler enough dollars to begin WW11 when Adolf came begging to US for enough to start the WW11 the Nazies had planned with US beginning-Corporations.
Probably not until the facts of how the US Government supported 9/11 come out will the facts come out publicly how much the US supported the nihilistic Huns Hitler led…US support for WW11 was awesome, which is why at the time of the Russian WW11 win the US was planning (maybe with Britain) to bomb Russia, all of it.
That is a very American interpretation of Lavrov’s words.Not only is it not very diplomatic, it’s also an incitement to war(since if they aren’t allowed a say in matters due to losing the war, then the logical course of action is to start a new war and win it), which plays right into the hands of Washington, that is attempting to buildup the Japanese military, probably hoping to use them against Russia and China.
you/he shouldn’t speak like that ;-)
but I like when the matters are kept in clean.
I wish he would give such a potent and clear message to Mr Lukashenko!
dear Saker please would you provide us with your view on Belarus relations to Russia. Shall the Kremlin wait until the last dictator of Europe dies or makes Belarus a rotten state (as Ukraine was made by Poroshenko & Co. ?
Thanks in advance.
The Kurils are geographically and historically part of Eastern Siberia. I don’t believe that the Japanese will ever fully accept the results of WW2. President Abe makes a point of regularly making offerings at Yasutani on behalf of the nation to celebrate the memory of Japan’s war criminals. Until Japan learns some humility and ceases this kind of behaviour there can be no kind of friendship with Korea or China.
Any enlightened guess on why Russia is really bent on concluding a peace treaty with Japan? I don’t see what it has to gain.
Russia and Japan have been in discussion for years over this with no closure yet. I don’t believe Russia is in any hurry to close the deal unless Japan meets their requirements. For Russia the conclusion of a peace treaty would remove a flash point the USA could exploit if needed and open up more trade opportunities. Russia has been quite blunt about the land though – we don’t negotiate Russian territory.
Japan has been wary of Russia ever since the Battle of Khalkhin, when Zhukov handed them their detached rectal cavities. For the Japanese it’s an opportunity to negotiate the return of some land that they lost so I would suggest they are dangling technology transfers in the hope of negotiating the land return and a peace treaty ratifying that.
Japan is being sucked into Eurasia. The intention is to deprive the US bases in Japan, and get economic integration of Japan with the Korean Peninsula and Far East development. Investment from Japan is already underway inside Russia.
It’s going to take awhile, but if the Korean Peninsula is denuclearized, then the US will have to take its nukes and Aegis Ashore missile defense and go to Guam. They will be pushed out of Okinawa also. That would leave Japan as the only US base, and that will go, too. Japan will be free to join the Belt and Road/Eurasian Development project of the century and grow its economic (which has been stuck for 30 years).
So, the Russian engagement with Japan is about the development of NE Asia and the neutralization of Japan from being a militant tool of the Indo-Pacific containment of China and Russia into a partner in Eurasia.
Putin and Abe will decide this matter. It’s been at the very top level for over one year.
Isn’t the best way to keep US bases out of Japan to not discuss any way to “share”/manage the Kuril Islands with Japan in any shape or form? “Share” is not right word, I mean whatever decision Putin and Abe make, keeping in mind Putin declared: “In 1956, the Soviet Union and Japan signed a declaration, which is called: the 1956 declaration. What does it say? It says that after signing a peace treaty, the Soviet Union is ready to transfer two islands, two southern islands of Japan.[…]Yesterday, during the course of our meeting, the Prime Minister said that Japan would be ready to return to the discussion of this problem on the basis of the 1956 declaration. But this requires, of course, a separate, additional, serious study, bearing in mind that in the declaration itself, as you heard, I have just said about this, everything is far from clear. There, in principle, only the problem is stated that the Soviet Union is ready to transfer the two islands of the southern part of the ridge, but it does not say on what grounds and under whose sovereignty they fall. This is all a matter of serious study, especially since once Japan itself refused to implement these agreements.” Seems to be the agreement will be some kind of transfer of the islands to Japan where the sovereignty would still fall to Russia (I have no idea how this will take shape). But isn’t even this risky?
Japan hasn’t even signed a Peace Treaty that signifies it lost the War with Russia.
That’s the basis for going forward.
If Japan wants eternal vassalage, it can talk about islands for another thousand years. Russia ain’t giving back the Kurils.
And Russia is telling Japan that if US bases remain on Japanese soil, there can’t be a level playing field.
Russia is a sovereign nation. Japan serves the US. It’s a vassal.
It’s up to Japan to change that paradigm. It has to rid itself of US bases.
Yes, but isn’t that why Lavrov is referring to the 1956 treaty as being signed under different conditions? Meaning that it was before Japan had a defense treaty with US – which completely changed the context. If interested in Japan, Vltchek had an interesting look at the current state of affairs in the country. Very sad – and not the Japan I remember: https://dissidentvoice.org/2019/01/why-is-japan-so-bitter-about-unstoppable-rise-of-china/
How do you see the US being pushed out of Okinawa? There have been anti-base protests there for years (the bases are, among other things, a liability for the local economy), but it kind of looks like a stalemate. Despite many crimes committed by the US military in Okinawa, the mainlanders are largely depoliticized and don’t support the anti-base movement, so I’m wondering how this situation will change, leading to an eviction of the US military presence.
Once a Korean Peninsula deal is made, which no one discusses includes the US packing up and leaving the South, then Okinawa will erupt and force out the US. After all, North and South will become brotherly, united in economic projects, linked by a rail from China and Russia to Eurasia and the threat the US says is the reason to be close is gone.
That will alter the Japanese role as vassal. Japan stands to enjoy great returns on investment from Korea, Far East Russia, the Arctic and the reduction of “threats” from China, North Korea and Russia.
US will hold as long as it can to Korea. But no deal can conclude that doesn’t address the exit of the US nukes and missile defenses and 28,000 troops in the South.
You are banking on the fact that Japanese care at all about them being vassals and slaves to the empire. Except for a couple of Okinawas the majority is apolitical and doesn’t care that they can’t write their constitution and that the west is using them as pawns to face off China and Russia. The culture of the Japanese could be seen as very obedient to who their perceive as the strongest before the emperor, who they worshiped, and now the west US especially.
More so if you consider that they have always seen the Chinese as inferior and to be exploited, read a little about the turn of the century and what the Japanese did to them. Trust me the Chinese haven’t forgotten.
The Japanese have played a tried to push the burden of hosting America military outposts onto Okinawa, which is essentially a joint American-Japanese military colony.
The Okinawans are compelled to deal with the environmental degradation caused by the US war machine, the socio-economic impact of having American war criminals lording over the island as if they owned it, and the American military’s endemic rape culture.
That is why the Japanese are largely indifferent to the destructive “footprint” of American militarism. It’s the Okinawans who are forced to deal with the brunt of its malign impact.
This is an acceptable explanation around the situation “Russia Federation vs. Japan” about the Kurils.
The emphass is on Japan’s integration into Eurasian, indeed.
Which is of a positive, trade-wise and peace-wise, for Japan and the entire East Asian region.
What’s commonalities between Japan and Communist China anyway? Hardly…
Russia wants to help Japan normalise it’s international relations, the US does not ever want that to happen.
Simple. Those two atom bombs scared Vice President Truman he was planning to use on Japan once Roosevelt was really dead, he waited until the official statement of the death of the US President was announced before telling the bombers to bomb the suing-for-peace ancient nation of Japan: a US War Crime at the time! Alive, Roosevelt would have punished his Vice President. Ever since WW11 when Russia won it, the US had taken over the nihilistic Hun aim of genociding Russia and the two “puny” Atom bombs were meant to terrify Russia (and China maybe too, who knows). Again, as to your guestion ‘why’ the US also never concluded peace with Korea either as, just like with Japan, the US intended to never free Korea from the divide and conquer mindset of all of the US Deep States. Whereas it decided with successful Yugoslavia, she was just too sovereign to remain alive. Right now, never in the news: US Deep States are nervously watching Netherlands support the French Yellow Vests. All US corporations reside in Amsterdam today January 2019.
How about the japanese return White gold from the Revolution first and then yap . 200 tons of it
I’ve read that possession of the Kuril island chain turns the Sea of Okhotsk into a Russian lake, thereby limiting legitimate entrance by foreign ships lacking Russian permission. Might this be why Russia does not take kindly to the insistence of a vassal state to regain islands lost in wars which that country started?
Very good approach by the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov. Pressure applied exquisitely, as one would would expect from so accomplished a man.
Once again, Russia has displayed superb mastery of diplomacy; beautifully polite language, logically expressed thoughts, knowledge of history and former agreements, and great respect for their interlocutors.
What a refreshing contrast to the bombastic statements of our politicians.
As much as I admire Lavrovs professionalism, tact and diplomatic finesse, I do wish that sometimes he would just state things clear as day: “As long as you remain an obedient, boot licking vasal state, wedged firmly between uncle Sams cheeks, go screw yourself with an american flag made in China.”
If Russia hands over the Kuril Islands to Japan, how long do you think before American military bases and anti-missile “defense” systems start popping up on the Kurils?
In a Tokyo minute.
The American military is like an invasive species of pest.
Once you let them into your home or near your home, they will be extremely difficult to be rid of.
The proper term for pests is ‘exterminated……’
Wonderful, that ministerial, excellent Diplomat Sergie Lavrov is so finely clear always. I was deeply curious of the insult of present US insistence on being included in any agreements between Russia and Japan …. as if the US owns anything Japan does or it must never do them. That time is long gone. Many thanks for this clarity to all who made it possible..
I am afraid the US many Deep States, now sure they sit in the US President’s seat, will never free Japan of the ordered expectations to always get US permission and US inclusion for and in anything meaningful (like a peace treaty) it decides to work out! “Not without US shouts the joined US Deep States!” Meaning that Japan must gird up it’s considerable self pride and latent sovereignty going back thousands of years not just 400 years, and ignore those US orders. With hopeful pride in the nation of Japan, I am sure they can do anything
needed to ensure we humans do not destroy our globe and human animals.
Japan announces will withdraw from whaling bans……https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/26/japan-confirms-it-will-quit-iwc-to-resume-commercial-whaling
I’ve seen RT publish a few articles covering the same story.
In all honesty, until seeing the comments section for those (English) articles, I always assumed that the reader base consisted of anti-SJW or anti-PC types and that RT would be the last place you’d look to find SJWs in the comment sections. I don’t really know what to make of commercial whaling myself, but I also don’t get why people would be likening the slaughter of whales to systematic murder of humans. The comments of this one in particular made me lose sleep the night I stumbled upon it:
Some commentators considered boycotting Japanese products. Whatever responses there might be towards Japanese commercial whaling, however, I feel this is a tad too extreme. As an anime fan and a proud owner of a PlayStation 4 and a Wii, this is not something I would do.
Unless the government itself is involved in this (is it, though?), how the heck is boycotting a whole country supposed to do anything short of virtue signaling?
Do companies like Sony, Nintendo, Honda, Toyota and Nissan have any involvement in whaling? Why should they be lumped with the whalers and therefore share the burden of losing revenue?
Other commentators even suggested nuking Japan. This is disgusting. If you’re going to resort to such (racial?) hatred, then something is wrong.
1) The Bible makes it clear that human (not whale) life is sacred. One need not be a Christian to know that murder of other human beings is wrong.
2) How would you feel if the lives of 126 million innocent men, women and children were snuffed out?
3) Don’t fight fire with fire, especially if we don’t want a fire in the first place.
While the commentators in the Russian-language articles also show the same sort of dismay towards whaling, to say nothing of the pejorative term “япошка” (in English “Jap”) elsewhere, I do not remember seeing the same statements as above (e.g. boycott) being written. Then again, maybe I’m just being too pedantic and shouldn’t even bother reading them anyway.
Either way, this has been bothering the heck out of me for the last two nights, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on the subject. I hope this article isn’t too old to be commented on.
”We have pointed out to our friends from Japan the fact that sovereignty over the islands is not subject to discussion. This is the territory of the Russian Federation. We also pointed out that in Japan’s legislation, these islands are designated as ’northern territories’, which, of course, is unacceptable for the Russian Federation.”
It’s quite plain to see that Japan’s ”grievances” are entirely bogus. Whatever noises it makes are due to the very same circumstances as the Ukronazis face regarding Crimea. Stalin secured the Soviet Far East which would otherwise have become a sitting duck at the mercy of endless provocations instigated by US imperialism, targeting it point blank from bases spread across these islands. Similarly, Putin secured the continued presence of Russia’s Black Sea fleet by accepting Crimea as part of Russia at the Crimeans’ request.
The Ukros and the Japanese — the former clinically insane and soon without a country — are unhappy due to their ”failure to deliver” as fitting for committed lackeys. Lavrov’s above words are very much on point indeed.
Russia has Lavrov, we (US) have Pompeo…
Keyboard, meet forehead. >.<