"The new Kuril zone, which has not yet been created, is a successful, elegant and diplomatic move aimed at showing that Russia views the Kuril Islands as its territory and, on the other hand, it demonstrates a constructive approach of Moscow to cooperation with Japan", Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Euroasian Studies of the Institute for International Studies at MGIMO University Ivan Zuyenko described introduction of an unprecedented tax regime for business on the Kurils during the "Expert's Opinion" show today, on September 9.
During the discussion, the expert mentioned resignation of Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and candidates for that position. There are opinions in the Japanese establishment that the Cabinet of Ministers might be headed by former Minister of Foreign Affairs Kishida Fumio. He might set aside the issue of transfer of the Kuril Islands and focus on common economic activities.
According to the speaker, former Foreign Minster Taro Kono is a more popular candidate for the prime minister's position. He is known as a populist, pro-American politician and supporter of alliances. If he becomes the prime minister, freezing of the current status quo is the most probable outcome.
"There are no significant signs of change of the Japan's standpoint on the Kuril Islands. It is still an issue of minor importance for the society. The Japanese business traditionally pays more attention to economic viability. The Kuril problem has always been an important element of campaigning for politicians. For the leadership of the country, it is an opportunity to increase its stock; however, we understand that the only way to make it into history in a positive way is to resolve that issue following the principle "all or nothing", believes Zuyenko.
"Now Japan is at the crossroads, and many problems have been put on hold. A lot depends on the personality of the future prime minister. A dialogue with Tokyo, the way it was under Abe, can be associated with the name of Kishida Fumo. However, there are serious doubts that it is he who will become the prime minister due to his submissiveness and lack of independence noted by Japanese experts", stated the expert.Zuyenko also commented on the statement made by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who called absence of a peace treaty between our countries a nonsense: "Absence of a peace treaty with Japan is, indeed, a nonsense, but, on the other side, it does not interferer with development of economic or cultural ties".