Russia accuses Japan of “megaphone diplomacy” over military drills in contested waters

Russia accuses Japan of “megaphone diplomacy” over military drills in contested waters

Sawako Utsumi and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan and President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation have extremely cordial relations based on friendship. However, elements inside the Japanese Foreign Ministry remain negative towards the Russian Federation, in relation to the territorial dispute between both nations.

Hence, with Abe and Putin hoping to move forward on a protracted issue between both nations, it is clear that negative ripples will reduce goodwill on both sides at this important junction. Therefore, the strong rebuttal by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation to protests over military drills in the Kurile Islands by Japan (in Japan the area is called the Northern Territories) is a further reminder that tensions remain.

Reuters reported earlier this year, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev approved the deployment of Russian warplanes on one of the islands in February, accelerating the area’s militarization at a time when Moscow’s ties with Tokyo are strained over the roll-out of the Aegis U.S. missile system.”

Since then, further military developments in the disputed area continue and the latest spat can see this antagonism. Indeed, the rebuttal by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation was extremely strong. This department accused political elites based in Tokyo of enacting “megaphone diplomacy.”

Military drills by the Russian Federation in waters close to Etorofu are deemed to be self-defensive. Equally, Japan knows full well that rolling out the United States Aegis missile system sent major negative ripples throughout China and the Russian Federation. Unsurprisingly, given the sensitive nature of the disputed territory and the role of America towards the Russian Federation, then elites in Moscow support the need to boost its national security throughout the Kurile Islands (Northern Territories).

The Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation stipulated strongly, “We firmly reject such demarches since Russia has the sovereign right to (conduct) any activity on its territory, including measures to strengthen national defense.”

NHK reports that the Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said, “The Russian military drills are incompatible with Japan’s position.”  

However, Russia is disillusioned by the alleged “megaphone diplomacy” of Japan over the territorial dispute. In other words, political elites in Moscow believe that counterparts in Tokyo should utter their disapprovals through diplomatic channels – rather than openly. Hence, ritual condemnation by Japan should be reduced based on the need for greater dialogue and issues of dispute should be handled through appropriate channels in order to increase trust.

Abe will note the latest spat because he will hold important talks with Putin over the territorial dispute and the hope of signing a Peace Treaty.

Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group

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