The impending change of leadership in Japan will neither affect Russian-Japanese relations nor alter Moscow’s stand on ownership of the disputed Kurile Islands, said deputy Russian foreign minister Aleksandr Panov January 6.(16) Ryutaro Hashimoto is expected to become Japanese prime minister later this week, replacing Tomiichi Murayama. Early in Boris Yeltsin’s presidency there were hints that relations between the two countries might warm. However the rapid development of a nationalist opposition in Russia ultimately left Yeltsin and his Foreign Ministry no room to maneuver on the issue of greatest importance to Tokyo: the return to Japan of the four Kurile Islands seized by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II. Panov’s remarks suggest that Moscow will remain intransigent on this issue. Failure to reach a compromise on the territorial question has slowed the development of economic relations between the two countries, which has hindered Moscow’s efforts to win aid from Tokyo, to promote Russo-Japanese business ventures, and, more broadly, to integrate Russia’s economically troubled Far Eastern regions into the vibrant Asian market.
Russia And China To Cooperate In Nuclear Energy.