On November 1st, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visited Kunashiri Island, one of four disputed islands between Japan and Russia. This was the first visit by a Russian or Soviet head of state to these islands and was greeted by protests from the Japanese government. Territorial and border disputes have long been a point of contention between Japan and its neighbors and this visit, following as it does the Senkaku incident in September, raises the sense in Japan of challenges related to its territorial sovereignty.
In this CNAPS Visiting Fellow presentation, Tadaatsu Mohri offered a comparative analysis of the Japan-Russia territorial problem and the Sino-Russian border demarcation, which was successfully concluded in 2004. Mr. Mohri offered suggestions on how Japan can best resolve its territorial problems with Russia, what lessons can be drawn from the Sino-Russian border demarcation, how diplomacy on this issue may benefit regional stability and security, and what role the U.S. can play in this context.
Tadaatsu Mohri is a career diplomat and has been with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1991. His most recent postings include Counselor for Political Affairs at the Embassy of Japan in Moscow (2008-2009) and Counselor for Economic Affairs at the Embassy of Japan in Washington DC (2006-2008). Mr. Mohri’s areas of expertise are Russian affairs, WTO affairs, and U.S.-Japan economic relations. He earned his BA in law from the University of Tokyo (1991) and studied Russian language and regional studies at the Defense Language Institute in Monterrey, CA (1993), Harvard University’s Russian Research Center (1993-94), and Moscow State Institute for International Relations (1994-95).
“The 21st century has revalued these small geographies. That’s what the 21st century demands,” Katz said, noting that these days, “[w]e aren’t innovating in isolated business parks” in the suburbs.