February 7th at Kudan Kaikan, Tokyo, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada and others such as the National Federation of Organizations Demanding the Return of the Northern Territories will gather for the endless repetition of a scenario that let Russians insensitive after decades-old territorial dispute. "The return of the so-called Northern Territories" to Japan.
The Northern Territories in Japan and the Southern Kurils in Russia, were occupied by Soviet troops in 1945 and are currently under Russian control. Russia and Japan have long been at odds over ownership of the islands, with the dispute blocking the signing of a peace treaty between the two countries since the end of World War II.
Coincidence? Provocation? Theatrical diplomacy? Russian message? Today, right wingers are in ecstasy. Why? A total of 20 bullet marks have been found on the hulls of two fishing boats that returned to a Hokkaido port after apparently being fired on Saturday morning by a Russian coast guard helicopter in waters off one of four disputed northern islands.
Russian border guards shot at two Japanese fishing boats in what Russia considers its territorial waters near the four disputed Pacific islands. The incident happened at 03:20 GMT on Friday, some 1.5 nautical miles off Kunashiri Island.
As seen on the VDO after the Japanese boats ignored orders to stop for examination, the Sakhalin coast guard department of Russia's Federal Security Service sent warning shots, then Russian coast guards fired at the boats from a helicopter. The boats stopped and returned. The Coast Guard said 15 bullet marks were found on one of the vessels and five on the other. The 19-ton vessels with a total of 15 crew members returned to the Japanese port of Rausu, near Nemuro (a place I visited during the G8 Toyako Summit).
Russia's Itar-Tass news agency said Russian border guards had admitted that they opened fire on the vessels off the coast of Kunashiri Island, confirming Japanese reports of the incident the previous day. A joint investigation into the incident had been launched with the Japanese side,
In Tokyo, Yasuaki Tanizaki, director general of the Foreign Ministry's European Affairs Bureau, lodged a protest with Russian Ambassador to Japan Mikhail Bely over the incident, which he said occurred when the boats were operating appropriately.
To be continued... Russia and Japan, still not in peace technically as no Peace Treaty has never been signed after World War II, do not stop arguing and kicking at each other about fishing zones troubles, pollution, etc... Catching the monitoring by spy boats and submarines, "big ears" (Misawa), in an area of the Northern Pacific seen as attractive by the Tokyo intelligence community' watchers' and where nobody expect anything to change to the displeasure of concerned parties.
"The thing is entirely psycho!", one well versed source told me, in that "Official Face Japan built the military pride of the inhabitants after defeating the Russians in the Japan Russia war in 1904", which led Japan to force Russia to abandon its expansionist policy in the Far East, becoming the first Asian power in modern times to defeat a European power and then Japan, after violating Korea's sovereignty, embarked on an adventurous colonization of Asia that ended with Hiroshima nuclear bombing. Since this time, "Tokyo neo-cons never ended arguing and "branded" the Russians as 'freaks'. Any option to combat Moscow is seen here as a patriot move. Seen as something OK to unite Japanese, so imagine during the Cold War between US Soviet-Union! Now, if anyone 'd lower the heat tension with Moscow, it's the whole symbolic of the Japanese victory on the Russian fleet that is threatened, and so on with the national pride. So, any attempt to soften stances between Tokyo and Moscow is permanently destroyed or interfered, except when money and energy, gas, oil, is at stake!"
For history lovers, here is the recall of events with onwar.com
"In 1898 Russia had pressured China into granting it a lease for the strategically important port of Port Arthur (now Lu-shun), at the tip of the Liaotung Peninsula, in southern Manchuria. Russia thereby entered into occupation of the peninsula, even though, in concert with other European powers, it had forced Japan to relinquish just such a right after the latter's decisive victory over China in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95. Moreover, in 1896 Russia had concluded an alliance with China against Japan and, in the process, had won rights to extend the Trans-Siberian Railroad across Chinese-held Manchuria to the Russian seaport of Vladivostok, thus gaining control of an important strip of Manchurian territory..." More on the Russia Japan War on
(Sources: wire services, ann, l'histoire, tass, xinhua, upi, reporter's notes)