Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 106

Admiral Kazuya Natsukawa, Japan’s topuniformed officer, continued his week-long visit to Russia yesterday as heheld talks in Moscow with Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeev. (Kyodo,June 2) Natsukawa, chairman of the Japanese Self Defense Forces’ Joint StaffCouncil, is the highest-ranking Japanese officer to visit Russia in thepost-war era. His talks with leading Russian defense officials are one of aseries of confidence-building measures that have been undertaken by themilitaries of the two countries. These contacts provide a military dimensionto the broader diplomatic efforts of Japan and Russia to fully normalizerelations by negotiating a peace treaty that would formally end World War II.

Natsukawa’s talks with Sergeev yesterday followed by a day a meeting inMoscow between the Japanese Admiral and the Russian General Staff Chief,Army General Anatoly Kvashnin. During his stay in Moscow, Natsukawa is alsoto meet with the commanders in chief of Russia’s Navy, Air Force andStrategic Forces. Tomorrow, he is to depart for Vladivostok, where he willmeet with Russia’s Pacific naval command as well as local authorities.Kvashnin announced, following the June 1 meeting, that he will reciprocateNatsukawa’s visit by traveling to Japan himself in October or November ofthis year. He also said that the Russian and Japanese navies plan in July toparticipate in a joint exercise–a naval disaster drill–that will takeplace in the Sea of Japan. It will be the first such exercise between thefleets of the two countries. (Itar-Tass, Kyodo, June 1) Topics beingdiscussed during Natsukawa’s visit reportedly include military developmentsin each of the two countries, and particularly Russia’s military reformefforts. The two sides will also discuss possible military-technicalcooperation and security concerns on both the Korean Peninsula andthroughout the Asia-Pacific region as a whole. Natsukawa is also expected toreturn to a Japanese proposal for the creation of an Asian securityforum–which would include China and the United States, along with Russiaand Japan. Tokyo first proposed the forum during a visit to Russia inJanuary by Japanese Vice Defense Minister Masahiro Akiyama. (Itar-Tass,Kyodo, June 1)