Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 84

An unprecedented meeting yesterday between the defense chiefs of Russia and Japan produced no agreements, but did result in the signing of a protocol aimed at promoting military contacts between the two countries. Hideo Usui, whose visit to Moscow is the first ever by a Japanese defense chief, said the event had been made possible by the "end of the Cold War" and "democratic and economic reforms being carried out in Russia." The protocol signed by Usui and Russian defense minister Pavel Grachev called for concrete confidence-building measures, including notification of large-scale exercises and exchanges of delegations between the defense establishments, including the defense ministries, of the two countries. Grachev was invited to pay a visit to Japan. (Itar-Tass, April 29)

The Japanese defense chief also met yesterday with Russian foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov. Their talks reportedly focused on security problems in the Asian Pacific region. (Interfax, April 29)

Usui’s visit and his rhetoric, like that of Japanese prime minister Ryutaro Hashimoto during the Moscow nuclear security summit, suggest that Tokyo would like to step up the glacial pace at which bilateral relations between the two countries have been moving. That strategy, which may be related to a desire to see Boris Yeltsin reelected, is nonetheless based on Yeltsin’s adherence to the 1993 Tokyo declaration on the Kuril Islands territorial dispute. (See Monitor, April 19 & 24)

In the Afterglow: Russo-Chinese Border Trade and Cooperation.