基調報告


Sustainability: Key word for the Global Peace

1. Introduction

  Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Today I would like to talk to you about some of the important arguments regarding the theme of this forum, “Japan and Russia: Sustainable Development of Future Oriented Relationship”. It is my great pleasure to have been given a chance to speak in front of you. Before going to the brass tacks, let me outline my speech. I would like to make clear what is needed to realize a sustainable world. Therefore, I will especially focus on the word ”Sustainability”. We should note two meanings with respect to this word. For example, the most popular one is used in the context of the environment. But in the context of this theme, the most important factor is the sustainable relationship between Japan and Russia rather than environmental sustainability. So first of all, let’s consider the sustainability of the relationship between Japan and Russia. And later, I will refer to the sustainable world in terms of the environment.

2. A sustainable relationship between Japan and Russia

A. Bilateral relationship

  For building a sustainable relationship, first we must get over the past. The diplomatic history of Japan and Russia has not necessarily been a completely amicable one. From the end of the 19th century, the relation began to worsen because of the Sino-Japanese War and following Tripartite Intervention. Then we had two big wars in the 20th century and World War U created the biggest problem for our current relationship: what we Japanese call it the Northern territories, which means Etorofutou island, Kunasiri island, Sikotan island, Habomai archipelago. These areas have been a controversial issue since then and make it impossible for the Japanese government to make a peace treaty with Russia. Of course, for Russia who has a number of internal territorial problems of its own, territorial integrity is one of its most important policies and letting another country or potential countries have these areas is unthinkable. Actually, there are about 17000 Russian people living in Northern territories. But at the same there are about 8000 Japanese nationals who want to return to the islands where they once lived. It is necessary to find mutually acceptable compromise for both Japan and Russia to make a breakthrough in this fluid situation as soon as possible. I believe that by talking with each other, we can solve the problem and it will enable us to get over the past. This will be the first step for the new relationship.
  We must also consider the future. Because of emotional or geopolitical reasons, Japan and Russia could not enjoy the potential benefits of the relationship. Moscow, the capital of Russia, is located west, so historically Russia has had a closer relationship with Europe than East Asian countries. So at least for Japanese, Russia is not only the nearest country but also one of the least known countries. In other words, we can say that there is still room for improvement. In 2003, the “Japan-Russia Plan of Action” was adopted and it showed the orientation of Japan-Russia relationships in various fields. The most remarkable fields are about trade and human exchange. According to some data, the number of people exchanged between Japan and America is about 30 times as large as that between Japan and Russia and the amount of trade between Japan and Russia is about 15 times as much as that between Japan and Russia. It reveals that there is not enough interchange between us. Needless to say, political dialogue is also significant but the most important matter is the concrete movement of things and human beings. For the sustainable development of the relationship between the countries, it is essential to carry out the plan, and I would like to underline the importance of substantial interchange. This student forum is a kind of the interchange, and I believe that it will definitely be invaluable

B. Multilateral relationship

  A bilateral relationship is not necessarily maintained only by keeping itself. For sustainable development, multilateral relationships should be maintained at the same time.
 The G8 summit held in Saint Petersburg was a great success especially for Russia. President Putin led the discussion about current global affairs, such as energy security, developmental aid, prevention of the diffusion of nuclear, and the summit results were meaningful. We Japanese put a high evaluation on the chairman’s summary that referred to the Six - Party Talks, regarding North Korea’s human rights issue.
  In connection with this, I would like to place a special emphasis on the Six - party Talks. Recently, the situation has not been comfortable for Japan and Russia. Four countries, North Korea, South Korea, China and the United States, started to have independent meetings, and Japan and Russia seemed to be out of picture. We should not overlook this situation. We must take the floor frankly and make our presence felt.
  Russia is eagerly contributing to APEC in recent years. We can easily understand this by reading the contributed article, in which president Putin noted that Russia was preparing for the next APEC conference as the chairman. The venue for the 2012 meeting will be Vladivostok, located in the Pacific Rim, so we can also guess that Russia is focusing on the East by contributing to APEC.
  Thus, Russia is now actively cooperating with other countries within the international frameworks. I believe that these frameworks will strengthen the tie not only between Russia and other countries, but also between Russia and Japan.  For strengthening this kind of relationship, I hope that Japan will fulfill its responsibility and successfully assume the leadership in Toyako summit next year.

3. Environmental sustainability

  Nowadays, we are giving much more attention to environmental pollution than ever before. The G8 summit in Hilingendam in Germany confirmed that global warming is one of the most pressing issues. The 8 countries talked about it seriously as main theme and Japan took a main role. Moreover, more than 20 international symposiums or workshops are going to be held by Hokkaido University for preparing for the next summit held in Toyako next year. It is sure that in the next summit, global warming will be the main theme again. We can’t think about the future without dealing with this problem. So how can we realize a sustainable environment?
  First of all, let me focus on efficiency. As everyone knows, Russia has abundant natural resources such as oil, natural gas and coniferous forests. By the way, Siberia and Amazon are called “the factories of oxygen in the world”. So it can be said that Russia assumes a high responsible for the environment. If Japan can introduce the way to produce resources efficiently to Russia, Russia can minimize the losses of producing them.
  Second, it’s about a planed behavior. The good example is the Sakhalin U Project. This project aims to develop oil and natural gas in Sakhalin, but Russian government suddenly ordered to stop it because of the environmental destruction. I expect that Russia will act thoughtfully on a plan like this in a similar situation. And Japan should support by investment, supply of technology and so on. At the same time, Japan must also act on plan.
  Environmental problem contains a good many of arguments so we can’t count the number of what we should do. But I think these two ideas are the bases of keeping the environment, so please keep these words in mind.

4. Conclusion

  In conclusion, for realizing a sustainable world, Japan and Russia yet have many things to do and the relationship is in the course of developing. We student may not have much to do in this regard, but as I already have mentioned, substantial interchange like this will become more meaningful.
  I hope that we can share our feeling to some degree and this will lead to our thinking about the world future as parties concerned. We are the ones who are carrying history.
  Thank you.