Toshio Masuda


Toshio Matsuda, Commentator & Intl Economist

Straight from the Shoulder

Official Website : http://www.chokugen.com/e/
E-mail : masuda@sunraworld.com
FAX: 011 81 3 5965-0064


BackNumber is HERE!


gStraight from the shoulder g by Toshio Masuda Mar. 30, 2007
( Free of charge to the people I met)

Toshio Masuda on the fundamentals of foreign policy

It may appear that I am taking too high handed an attitude, but, nevertheless, in this issue, I want to take some time to express my views on the fundamentals of foreign policy, a subject on which I have continued to advocate since returning to Japan in 1995.

The northern territories issue is the key hindrance to a normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and Russia, and the abduction issues is the gcancerh hindering a normalization of Japan-North Korea relations. The policy that our country has consistently adopted towards the two countries is clear and unyielding. Towards Russia, Japan awaits gthe day of return of the Northern Territories, the day of peaceh (so states the slogan displayed on the Ministry of Internal Affairs & Communicationsf building). And towards North Korea, Japan cannot even contemplate a resumption of diplomatic ties without a resolution to the abduction issue. The then Minister for Foreign Affairs, Yohei Kono, famous for his official apology regarding comfort women, changed Japanfs long-held post-war policy towards Russia from one advocating the ginseparability of economics and politicsh (namely that economic relations cannot exist without a rapprochement in diplomatic relations) to one advocating gparallel politics and economicsh (i.e. politics is politics, economics is economics). However, even now, Japan holds fast to its policy that there will be no peace treaty without the return of the four northern islands.

However, for the past 10 years I have consistently advocated the adoption of a foreign policy towards Russia and North Korea that is entirely different from that of successive Japanese administrations. In fact, it is entirely the opposite, namely that, in the case of Russia, there can be no resolution of the northern territories issue without an initial peace treaty, and, in the case of North Korea, there can be no resolution of the abduction issue without a resumption of Japanese-North Korean relations.

As far as Russian diplomatic relations are concerned, I place great store on the Japan-Soviet Joint Declaration put into effect with the signing of ratification instruments by the prime ministers of the time Ichiro Hatoyama and Nikolai Bulganin on December 12, 1956. The gist of this declaration is that gthe Soviet Union would return two islands out of the four, Shikotan and Habomai, directly after the Japan Soviet peace treaty had been concludedh, and the return of the remaining two islands would be subject to negotiation after the bilateral peace treaty was fully established. I have often talked about the gdifferencesh between Japan as it is today, a country that has refused to sign a peace treaty with the Soviet Union (now Russia), and what Japan would have been like if it had normalized diplomatic relations with Russia. While Japan today is not currently engaged in a physical state of war with Russia, we, as a country, still behave as a defeated nation of World War II in our dealings with Russia.

I believe that, if a peace treaty between Japan and Russia did actually exist, then Japan and Russia could act as two equal nations in their dealings with each other as opposed to the victor and the vanquished. As with North Korea and China, Russia no longer treats Japan as an gaggressor nationh these days. But I still believe firmly that since the process of concluding the Second World War has still not been officially completed between Japan and Russia, smooth diplomatic relations between the two countries has been hampered. If Japan concluded a peace treaty with Russia and North Korea, then there would be much less cause for calling Japan an aggressor nation and repeated demands for official apologies for Japanfs past actions. In other words, if Japan agreed to sign a peace treaty with the two countries, it could then negotiate with each party on equal terms regarding issues including the northern territories and the abduction of Japanese citizens by North Korea. Believe me, the disadvantage to Japan of continuing as if it is a defeated World War II nation in its diplomatic relations is unfathomable.

The foreign policy strategy that Russia has adopted towards Japan on the issue of the northern territories, currently the most important issue to Japan in the bilateral relationship, always comes down to the point that it got Japan to recognize that gthe issue of four Pacific islands would date back only to 1993h (at bilateral summit talks between President Putin and Prime Minister Mori). Since both parties ratified the Japan Soviet Joint Declaration, Russia would be obliged to return two of the islands directly upon the signing of a peace treaty between Japan and Russia. In order to evade this obligation, Russia got Prime Minister Mori to recognize that the territorial issue dates back only to 1993, a point after the ratification of the Joint Declaration in 1956. The Japanese-Russian relationship has continued in the vein of victor and vanquished nation with Japan biding its time over negotiations to determine national borders, etc. In the meantime, Japan has continued to show Russia ample goodwill with no reward, writing off over \20billion in Russian government debt, providing medical aid and many other things, all in the name of developing a relationship of mutual trust. I still insist that now above all there will be no return of the northern territories without a peace treaty.

In the case of North Korea and Japanfs relationship with that nation, we need to recognize the fundamental truth that the abduction of citizens by North Korea is a joint problem for both Japan and North Korea. In addition, the aim of the six nation talks is the nuclear disarmament of North Korea only and not a forum to resolve the abduction issue. We have to fully recognize and accept the fundamental basis of the six-nation talks. I firmly believe that we must first resume bilateral diplomatic relations (sign a Japan-North Korea peace treaty) if we are to make any real progress on issues including the one of citizen abduction. One cannot place conditions on the resumption of diplomatic ties here.

I believe that the quickest route to resolving the abduction issue is to leave the abduction issue aside for now and work positively towards the resumption of bilateral diplomatic relations. If we resume diplomatic ties, they will encourage political, economic and cultural interaction and a joint Japan-North Korea investigation of citizen abduction will follow as a matter of course. In addition to the declaration that America does not plan to take military action against North Korea, it will take the triumph of democracy over Kim Jong-ilfs administration in order to achieve nuclear disarmament. If both the US and Japan resume diplomatic ties with North Korea, then the flow of people, money and information into North Korea will naturally increase, exerting an inevitably huge influence on that nationfs political and economic systems. In the end, the internal disintegration of the Kim Jong-il administration will be the inevitable conclusion.

Isnft it the wish of all the families of abducted citizens to see their loved ones return at the earliest possible opportunity? If that is the case, then why canft we take the most direct route to that end? When you fight, you first have to make up and then work out who was to blame and how to repair the damage, donft you? Japanfs foreign policy could do worse than return to these principles of gchildhood conflicth for a time.

Anyone wanting to redistribute Straight from the Shoulder pieces or excerpts from the texts should direct their request in advance to the Toshio Matsuda Office at Sunraworld, Ltd. (Tel: 81-(0)3-3955-2121).


–You may ask for redistribution.
BackNumber is Here!


Your Opinion to FAX 81-3-3955-2122
E-mail: info@chokugen.com
Written by Toshio Masuda