Meanwhile, in recent days both countries have given hints of proposals they intend to make during the summit that could depart from the expected agenda. On April 9, a Russian Foreign Ministry source was quoted as saying that Russia may seek the signing not of a peace treaty with Japan, but of a "broader" document. This proposal, the source said, "would lay a more solid foundation for relations between the two countries, and different options and approaches are currently being discussed." It was unclear what the Russian proposal is to entail. It will apparently be based in part on a joint Soviet-Japanese declaration signed in 1956. That document — which formally ended the state of war between Japan and Russia, but which was not a peace treaty — stipulated the conditional return to Japan of two of the four disputed Kuril Islands. The Russian Foreign Ministry source cautioned, however, that Moscow would not revisit the territorial aspect of the 1956 plan in making its new proposal. That subject, the source said, "is not on the agenda now." (Kyodo, April 9)
That Moscow and Tokyo may not be aiming in entirely the same direction seemed evident in a report published by a Japanese newspaper on April 10. According to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Hashimoto will seek to move the two countries toward adoption of a "Moscow Declaration." That document — which would be a follow-up to the 1993 "Tokyo Declaration" that has served as the basis for the current improvement in bilateral relations — would be formalized at a subsequent Yeltsin-Hashimoto summit, tentatively scheduled for Moscow in the fall. The declaration would provide a comprehensive outline of future Japanese-Russian relations, the newspaper said, to ensure that friendly ties between the two countries are grounded in something other than the personal relationship between Yeltsin and Hashimoto. The declaration would also contain an affirmation that the two countries will seek the early finalization of a peace treaty — conditioned in part on resolution of the Kuril Islands territorial dispute. (Kyodo, April 10)
Yeltsin Pushes for START-2 Ratification.