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2013年11月 4日 (月)

日露2プラス2 「領土」への信頼を醸成したい

The Yomiuri Shimbun November 4, 2013
Japan-Russia 2-plus-2 meeting likely to advance northern territories talks
日露2プラス2 「領土」への信頼を醸成したい(11月3日付・読売社説)

Enhancement of security cooperation between Japan and Russia will greatly contribute to peace and stability in East Asia. We expect confidence building between the two countries to lead to solving the dispute over the Russian-held northern territories.

Tokyo and Moscow held their first “two-plus-two” meeting of foreign and defense ministers in Tokyo on Saturday. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to hold the meeting during their summit talks in April.

It is the third two-plus-two framework for Japan following those with the United States and Australia. The two-plus-two framework has propelled Japan-Russia relations to a new phase.

The two nations agreed at the meeting to develop search-and-rescue exercises in the Far East, and conduct joint antipiracy and counterterrorism exercises in seas off Somalia between the Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Russian Navy.

Meanwhile, China is ramping up its efforts to become a maritime power and taking a hard-line stance in waters around the Senkaku Islands and the South China Sea. The country has also taken an interest in the Arctic, irritating Russia. In that sense, a closer security partnership of Japan and Russia is also significant as a means to put pressure on China.

Besides, North Korea’s nuclear and missile ambitions are common problems for Russia and Japan. Improvement of mutual communications between them will serve their national interests.

Japan and Russia also agreed to launch bilateral cybersecurity talks to counter cyber-attacks, which are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Japan has already held cybersecurity talks with the United States. Deepening discussions with Russia is essential to establish international rules on cybersecurity.

The Russian side has also shown its understanding for specific Japanese security policies such as Abe’s idea of making Japan a proactive contributor to peace and a planned revision of the nation’s National Defense Program Guidelines.

Further dialogue needed

However, the Russian side expressed strong concern about a missile defense system being advanced jointly by Japan and the United States because, it said, the system “could disrupt the strategic balance in the Asia-Pacific region.” This concern is related to Moscow’s worries that its nuclear deterrence could be undermined with the missile defense program the United States is developing in Europe.

It is necessary to deepen mutual understanding by having the two countries’ defense ministers exchange visits. Russian military planes intruded in Japanese airspace in February and August. Tokyo and Moscow should have more talks to avoid a dangerous confrontation.

Prior to the two-plus-two talks, the Japanese and Russian foreign ministers held a meeting and agreed to hold vice-foreign-ministerial talks early next year to discuss issues related to the northern territories. Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida is scheduled to visit Russia next spring.

His Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, said at a press conference that a dialogue should be held in an environment in which participants could be constructive and unemotional without making challenging remarks. It is true that talks on the northern territories will never advance if Japan-Russian relations deteriorate.

As Abe said, negotiations on the northern territories have to be advanced in the process of expanding Japan-Russia cooperation to a wider variety of fields. The two-plus-two framework will be a basis for the territorial negotiations, which face a bumpy road ahead.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 3, 2013)
(2013年11月3日01時35分  読売新聞)


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