EDITORIAL | Sanction Russia on the planned economic zone on Japanese territory
Russian Deputy Prime Ministers Dmitry Grigorenko and Marat Khusnullin visited Etorofu and Shikotan between October 15 and 17.
The purpose of the visit was to inspect the islands with a view to establishing a Russian Special Economic Zone covering the Northern Territories, including the islands of Etorofu and Shikotan.
The four islands of the Northern Territories are in Japanese territory. Visits by senior Russian officials and the unilateral creation of special economic zones are totally unacceptable.
The Japanese government must quickly impose strict measures, such as stopping the issuance of visas for all parties related to these actions.
Previously, at the end of July 2021, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustine visited Etorofu, triggering numerous protests from Japan. Nonetheless, Grigorenko and Khusnullin ignored requests from the Japanese government to cancel the trip and made their way to the Northern Territories anyway.
The Japanese government said, “We cannot accept this act. This goes against Japan’s consistent stance on the Northern Territories. But Russia paid no attention.
Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, Japan stopped issuing visas to individuals linked to the shares and also froze the assets of certain individuals and groups. Japan should also consider taking similar action on the issue of the Northern Territories.
Within the planned special economic zone, the Putin administration intends to grant a 10-year exemption from corporate tax and property tax to Russian and other businesses that expand into the Territories. North.
Russia clearly wants to attract domestic and foreign investment in the region. However, from Japan’s point of view, it is necessary to ensure that this plan will not be effective.
For example, Japan should prevent Russian and third-country companies investing in the Northern Territories from doing business with Japan. We want the National Diet to adopt such legislation.
Based on the 2016 agreement between Japan and Russia, the two countries were holding talks on joint economic activity on the four islands of the Northern Territories. However, there was no real progress in these talks, and then Russia came out with its unilateral plan for a special area.
Japan must take the initiative and end any discussion of joint economic activity in the region.
Recently, Russia has increased the frequency of military exercises in the Northern Territories and Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). In addition, the Putin administration is deepening its military ties with China and increasing its hostile actions against Japan, an ally of the United States.
It is therefore obvious that any diplomatic attempt to please the Putin administration, in the current climate, would be in vain.
What is needed now is for Japan to work with like-minded democratic groups, like the G7 and Quad, on the Northern Territories issue, and exert international pressure on Russia.
(Read it Sankei Shimbun editorial in Japanese on this link.)
Author: editorial board, The Sankei Shimbun