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used this channel in order to acquaint himself more
the more with those who are attached to the cause of indirectly with the Japanese problem and was somehow strengthening relations with the Soviet Union. You can influenced by the information which he received from the assume that we are ready to develop relations with Japan. communists. He knew beforehand that this information If she [i.e. Japan) does not present us with ultimatums, would not be objective; the CPSU's relations with the then there is great potential for that. I would like to ask Japanese communist party had been poor for decades. The the question: why is Japan presenting the Soviet Union conversations with Fuwa to a significant degree were with an ultimatum, since, after all, we did not lose the war devoted to clearing up inter-party difficulties. Outside of to her?” this framework, a significant part of these conversations To this Fuwa reacted curiously: “I am not Nakasone's was devoted to the struggle against the nuclear threat. deputy.” “I will take that under advisement,” M.S. Although on this issue too, their positions did not coincide. countered. The anti-American aspect of the problem was very
Incidentally, Fuwa demanded of Gorbachev very strongly present on both sides.
firmly and insistently in Japanese, using a variety of Of course, Soviet-Japanese relations were also
different approaches, that the CPSU cut off relations with discussed. And Gorbachev genuinely tried to improve the Socialist Party of Japan, and when doing so always them. But, as yet, we had no policy aimed at this end. tried to play on the anti-imperialist ideology of the CPSU Therefore an emotional approach predominated which was and to put forward examples proving that the Japanese obviously insufficient to draw a line under the present socialists were actually playing into the hands of American and begin everything from scratch" (Gorbachev used these imperialism, not to mention into the hands of (Japan's] words more than once).
own bourgeoisie. But Gorbachev was entirely unmoved He had not yet felt the significance-governmental, by this. He politely explained that the CPSU would political, emotional, traditional, psychological, of every henceforward associate with all of Japan's “peace-loving sort—that the Japanese invested in the problem of the forces” “in the name of their common interests.” islands seized from them by Stalin after their capitulation, It seems to me that there was something of a turning after the end of the Second World War. In reality, they had point in the evolution of Gorbachev's approaches to the never belonged to Russia. Knowing this, but being driven Japanese theme in his conversation with the Chairman of by the inertia of the Soviet superpower, the very possibility the Central Executive Committee of the Socialist Party of of returning these territories had been ruled out. Some- Japan, Doi Takako, on 6 May 1988. A broad review of the times, [Gorbachev) expressed himself quite definitely and entire circle of Soviet-Japanese relations was made. sarcastically as to the hopelessness of the Japanese efforts Moreover, I must say, this was done by both sides in the in this regard; at the first meetings he did not even want to most delicate way, in the most benevolent spirit, with an discuss this issue, considering the post-war territorial effort to understand one another, and somehow to get division to be final and irreversible everywhere. He did closer to a realistic evaluation of Japan's place in the not recognize the problem itself which supposedly had to development of the policy of “new thinking.” Every be resolved. According to the Gromyko formula, it had element was present in the conversation: the emotional, the been resolved “as a result of the war.” And that was the psychological, and the deeply political. Concisely put, for only explanation for why in actuality the four islands Gorbachev, his conversation with this very kind, very should belong to the Soviet Union, which, as it was said, intelligent, interesting, spiritually rich woman was a sort of although big, "had no excess land.” Sometimes he used turning-point in his understanding of the scale of the those words to forestall the efforts of the Japanese inter- Japanese problem as a whole and the difficulty of our locutors to begin a discussion. There was a certain (sense relations with this nation, with this state. Of course, Doi of playing a negotiating) game in such a statement of the also placed emphasis on the fact that Gorbachev should issue.
come to Japan, and that this would help resolve everything The evolution of his views on this score was slow, and more easily. She told him that if the Japanese were asked took almost five years to complete. I will try to illustrate what they wanted from Soviet-Japanese relations, the this evolution with concrete examples, relying on my majority would answer with the question: when will records of Gorbachev's conversations with figures from General Secretary Gorbachev come to Japan? the Japanese state and society....
“When the time comes,” Gorbachev answered, Back in 1985 in his first meeting with Nakasone, who provoking general laughter. “I am ready. But is Japan was then prime minister, the issue of a visit by Gorbachev ready?” to Japan came up. Afterwards, this theme arose in
Henceforward I will cite what they said according to practically all of his conversations with the Japanese. In the stenographic record: reply to the latest invitation to him in the conversation
Doi. Japan is ready. with Fuwa to which I have already referred, M.S.
Gorbachev. That is unlikely. (Gorbachev] said: “I am not being evasive, I think, [in
Doi. No, it is ready. Are you hinting that if you were saying that), we must have the widest possible ties with told clearly by the Japanese side that they want a visit from our neighbor Japan along state, party and social lines. All you, you would be ready to go?
Gorbachev. If as a result of that visit we could come out with something concrete.
Doi. Do you have some concrete conditions?
Gorbachev. I have in mind some conditions, but most importantly, there must be an impulse, and not only a symbolic visit. It should really move the relations of the two countries ahead. There is not enough time simply to travel around.
Doi. I understand that. But you talked about Mrs. Thatcher, that you have a sharp dialogue with her, and that you are also conducting a dialogue with other countries. But why is there no dialogue with Japan? Perhaps you think that you can find out about Japanese affairs from the USA?
Gorbachev. No, we do not want to hear about Japanese problems in English translation. To us, Japan is an independent, great figure.
Doi. That has great significance from the point of view of the improvement of relations between the two countries.
Gorbachev. My conversation with you makes the problem of a visit an immediate issue. We will think over the issue. But we need also to know the government's point of view.
Doi. When I return, I will tell the premier about this.
It must be said that, in contrast to the Communist leaders, other Japanese, starting with Doi, were very delicate in their posing of the “key,” the most acute, issue—that of the islands. This word itself was not pronounced in the first conversations; it was covered in the following terms: “a series of unresolved problems,”:4 "the 1956 Declaration,” [Ed. note: The 1956 Joint Declaration is discussed at length by Deputy Foreign Ministers Rogachev and Kuriyama below) and so on. Naturally, Doi could not get around this issue and asked Gorbachev what his attitude was to the diplomatic document which was ratified in 1956 and on the basis of which diplomatic relations were restored? He answered verbosely, and this position was then maintained for a long time in different forms.
Gorbachev. First of all, let us come to an understanding that we both agree that it is impossible to approach the existing realities in any other way. The 1956 Declaration was conceived in concrete conditions, in concrete political circumstances. Concrete issues were discussed. But this discussion did not end in an agreement.
Doi. Nevertheless, Paragraph 9 [Trans. Note: graph 9 stated that upon conclusion of a peace treaty between Japan and the USSR, the Habomai and Shikotan Islands would be returned to Japan) was agreed upon and was included in the Declaration.
Gorbachev. I am saying that this was not arrived at through a real process. A lot of time has passed, and all of that remains in history. We have only one thing today: the post-war realities. We must start from that basis.
Doi. On what basis in particular?
Gorbachev. On the basis of the existing post-war realities. What there was in different years has not come to pass, has not been formalized. What is more, this is not our fault. I do not see any need to re-animate issues which have already passed into history. Let us operate on the basis of realities and develop our relations.
Doi. Reality consists of the fact that you consider that the issue has been resolved and does not exist. But we consider that it has not been resolved. That is how we understand reality.
Gorbachev. You are placing in doubt the results of the Second World War. In West Germany there are also such forces. We will consider that this is also a reality. And all the same, there, opinion in favor of abiding by the political results of the Second World War is prevailing.
Doi. But the people's feelings have deep historical roots. Those feelings tell us that those are our lands there, that our ancestors lived there. And these feelings are very strong in Japan.
Gorbachev. We also have nationalistic feeling. The Russians have not forgotten that they discovered the Kuriles. You refer often to the agreements of 1855 and 1875. But, after all, there was the Portsmouth treaty of 1904 (Ed. Note: 1905) after that, which canceled them and made them null and void. As a whole, an approach which does not recognize the post-war realities runs into a deadend.
Doi. But, after all, the 1956 Declaration is also a postwar act.
Gorbachev. But then our points of view did not coincide. Now that is already history. There were efforts, solutions were sought for, but nonetheless things remained as they were after the war.
Doi. But, after all, this Declaration is effectively a (legally) valid document. How can that be considered an issue of history?
Gorbachev. The Japanese side did not take advantage of its opportunity. For that reason, everything returned to
95 the post-war results.”
[Gorbachev met with Nakasone Yasuhiro in Moscow in July 1988.]
Nakasone. I want to state my opinion. You must activate the links between your Pacific regions and the countries of the Japanese sea. Then friendly relations really will develop in the region. Up to six million people from Japan travel to foreign countries every year. But practically no one goes to the Eastern regions of the USSR. Here hotels must be built, some thought must be given to organizing skiing centers, and so on. After all, there are a whole lot of interesting places here. It will be better and much cheaper than going to Canada, which is very popular in Japan.
To this day, Japanese think of Vladivostok as some sort of dangerous military base. Things should be changed so that instead they think about it as an economic and
cultural center, a center of tourism. Then the view of the We did not lose the war to you, but you are trying to region as a whole will radically change, and joint enter- dictate [terms] to us. A sort of stalemate has appeared in prises will arise. Famous collectives like the orchestra of our relations." And [he] continued: “We approach the the Leningrad Philharmonic and the Bolshoi Theater post-war realities differently, and assess them differently. should perform in Vladivostok. Then Japanese [visitors] But they are what they are. They are based on the outwill also go there.
come of the war, and have been consolidated in docuProcesses in the Soviet Union and the course of ments. Japanese representatives, when they speak about perestroika were also “subjected" to fundamental "joint" Soviet-Japanese relations, begin with 1956. But they analysis. Gorbachev frankly and in detail informed
should begin with the post-war situation. Then 1956 also Nakasone of his assessment of the situation at that
looks different. moment. In reply, Nakasone demonstrated a fairly
Then, in the context of that period, in order to restore detailed knowledge of events in our country. At the end of relations with Japan, to normalize them, the Soviet Union the conversation, Nakasone politely, but firmly and
decided to make a noble step—to give away two islands. concretely, approached the most difficult theme—the [Ed. note: According to the Russian scholar and former "obstacles in Soviet-Japanese relations."
diplomat S. Tikhvinskii (Problemy dal'nego vostoka, 4“I want very much to improve them,” said Nakasone. 5(1995)), but as yet uncorroborated by documentation, the “For that reason, I came to Moscow. First, there is a offer was made on 9 August 1955, the tenth anniversary of territorial problem in our relations. When this territorial the Nagasaki atomic attack.) This was good will on the problem comes up in negotiations, the Soviet side right part of the Soviet Union. But from Japan's side, a demand away gets angry and does not want to discuss it. I think was immediately made for four islands. And it all came to that after 1956, when diplomatic relations were restored, nothing, although diplomatic relations were re-established too many statements which were political bluffs were in 1956. Japan embarked on a rapprochement with the made on both sides. Mr. Gorbachev, you are a jurist who US. The presence of the US in this region grew and took graduated from Moscow University. I am also a jurist and on its current dimensions. That required the Soviet Union graduate from Tokyo University. Let us talk about these to take steps in response.” problems cold-bloodedly, like jurists.”
Further discussion between Gorbachev and Nakasone He set out the history of the islands after the Second at that time came to nothing; they were both working from World War carefully and in detail, and ended with the fixed positions; each considered himself in the right, and following words: we do not think that our northern
they really did assess the realities (of the situation] territories will be returned right away, but it is very
differently. important to act on the basis of the existing understandings Nakasone recalled that when he was prime minister, which were fixed in international agreements between our he had invited Gorbachev to visit Japan, and Gorbachev two countries. That would be a great contribution to the had received [the invitation) with satisfaction. Now he, development of relations. I am asking you, Mr. General Nakasone, was confirming the invitation on behalf of all Secretary, to approach this seriously and study the issue. Japan. We must ensure that the feelings of our two peoples in this On 5 May 1989, Gorbachev met with the Minister for issue be freed of emotion, and that the problem be resolved Foreign Affairs of Japan, Uno Sosuke. At the beginning of calmly.
the conversation, he immediately observed that since How did Gorbachev react? His words were: “I can beginning his work as General Secretary, he, Gorbachev, repeat our principled approach. We are interested in good had met with prominent Japanese ten times. But progress relations with Japan. They must encompass a political in relations was not very noticeable; relations with other dialogue, economic, scientific-technical, and cultural countries were outstripping what the USSR had with Japan cooperation, and exchanges of people. We are for the both in dynamism and in scale. broadest ties. In 1985, when I first met you, I also talked Gorbachev and Uno positively assessed the official about this. What has happened over the three years since? dialogue at the level of the ministers of foreign affairs With many countries, our relations have expanded and which had begun in December 1988. Uno also affirmed have become productive. But with Japan, they not only the invitation to Gorbachev to visit Japan. And he handed have not moved forward, but have frozen up. And in some him “five points" on which the Japanese side considered it ways, they have fallen back. We regret this. You should desirable to develop the dialogue: know that. It seems to us that in Japan an opinion has
To continue work on the conclusion of a peace treaty. formed to the effect that the Soviet Union is more inter
To strengthen trust in relations. ested than Japan in an improvement in relations. I have
To advance economic trade ties. been informed that the Japanese are concluding: the Soviet Union needs new technology. It will have to come hat in
To promote the expansion of contacts between people. hand to Japan. That is a big mistake. If such an approach To ensure a visit by Gorbachev to Japan. lies at the basis of Japanese policy, we will not be able to Uno informed Gorbachev that, in his discussion with get anywhere. To one of my Japanese interlocutors I said: Shevardnadze the day before, he had again announced on
already very difficult—about the motives behind his actions from the very beginning of perestroika, about his evident and "hidden" intentions, and as it were, “confessed" to failures and miscalculations, to the fact that what he had counted on in a number of cases had not turned out right.
[The second episode is the Gulf War.)
behalf of his government that Japan could not recognize the Soviet side's reasoning to the effect that from a legal and historical point of view, the four islands belonged to the Soviet Union.
Gorbachev observed that the atmosphere of relations was changing. The dialogue was becoming constructive, and a mechanism of working groups to conclude a peace treaty had been created. (Ed. note: Excerpts from two of these meetings in 1988 and 1989 can be found below in this issue of the CWIHP Bulletin.) He said, I am for strengthening the shoots of trust and turning cooperation into friendly relations. I am for advancing the process of mutual understanding without excluding (from consideration) any issues. In this context, he stated, I consider my visit to Japan to be crucial.
As can be seen, a nuance, a new note, appeared in this conversation: not to back off from any issues; any of them could be the subject of discussion, (and, of course, this implied!) they could not be considered to be definitively closed.
[The role of the Japanese Ambassador Edamura is discussed.]
In the evolution of the relations between the two countries, two episodes were significant, and I cannot omit them. They were different in their character, but they both signified an “approach” by Gorbachev to solving the Soviet-Japanese problem.
The first was his meeting with Ikeda in July 1990. He is a person who is famous not only in Japan. For many years, he has headed the religious-enlightenment organization “Soka Gakkai,” which has a far-flung network of cultural, academic, and university centers on every continent. It devotes huge resources to the task of spiritual renewal and moral self-affirmation for thousands and thousands of people of different nationalities and creeds. It is, in its own way, a unique system which, it would seem, could have been created only by the Japanese and which embodies all of the characteristic particularities of that nation.
Ikeda for a long time had wanted to contact Gorbachev, seeing in him a "new beginning" in world politics which introduced goodness and moral principles into it. V.I. Dunaev once again helped to “bring them together.”
The meeting took place in the Kremlin in one of the reception halls which was next to Gorbachev's office.
Ikeda brought a whole "team" of people with him, twelve in all. Mikhail Sergeevich had some of his close advisers and Vladislav Ivanovich (Dunaev) with him. The very ceremony of greeting was unusually warm and somehow merry. The interlocutors right away took up an "intimate,” frank discussion which had, it would seem, no practical business goals.
Gorbachev talked in detail, without hiding anything, about the situation in the country at that moment—it was
When the time for Gorbachev's visit was finally settled, there took place very energetic, somewhat nervous and not entirely successful diplomatic moves by both sides, especially by certain Japanese circles which had factored the visit into their domestic political game. In this sense, the visit of the General Secretary of the LiberalDemocratic Party of Japan, Ozawa Ichiro, at the end of March 1991, is curious. Gorbachev knew of this party's role in defining and carrying out state policy in Japan. He even once joked that the LDP ruled Japan even more than the CPSU in its time did the Soviet Union.
When they met in the Kremlin in the presidential office, Gorbachev defined the format of their conversation as follows: we will talk as "the leaders of the ruling parties about what we will do in the future, about how to build our inter-state relations.” I hope, he went on, that we will conduct the conversation so as to prepare the visit of the president of the USSR to Japan to make it a success both for you and for us, as well as for the entire world. We must not lose touch with the domestic component of policy in each of our countries, nor with the worldwide context. For a long time everything was simple and clear: we presented each other with ultimatums - and that was all. And what became of it? We proved that we can live without one another and have managed to do so. But what is the sense of such an approach? If we seriously think over the entire path that has been taken, there can be only one conclusion: it would be better if we had cooperated during the whole period of time that has now been lost.
Gorbachev drew some comparisons. The USSR's relations with other neighboring countries in the East have moved forward. Relations with China, he said, were developing happily. We have begun diplomatic relations and a new level of contacts with South Korea, not to mention India, the ASEAN countries, and Indonesia. (Relations] with the United States have progressed so far that changes have become possible throughout the entire world.
My term in office will soon run out, he went on. However, so far I have not done anything for SovietJapanese relations. But it is not I who is at issue here. After all, the USSR and Japan are two great neighboring states, two great peoples. And that obliges me and us to do something together.
Ozawa in reply emphasized, incidentally, that, if it really were possible to establish new mutual relations between Japan and the USSR, it would truly be a huge contribution not only to the improvement of the political
and economic situation in the world, but also to strengthening and assuring a stable peace for the whole planet.
It was clear that Ozawa's appearance in Moscow was not accidental. It was the result of serious forethought in Japanese ruling circles. Both in the government and in the political parties, evidently, they wanted to know in advance what Gorbachev would come with. And, naturally, Ozawa wanted to be the first to bring back something fundamentally new. Being present along with V.M. Falin (he was the leader of the International Division of the CC CPSU, and the meeting was conducted, as it were, along party lines) at this meeting—which was very diplomatic in form but substantial and fairly frank, I would argue that Gorbachev's position distinctly showed more movement on this occasion than in previous negotiations with highly placed Japanese figures. I will try to illustrate this, relying on my record of the conversation.
Gorbachev again—this had become a rule (with him]-appealed to the experience garnered by the USSR and Germany. We went by the path of increasing our cooperation, Gorbachev told Ozawa. It could hardly be thought that the Soviet Union would have come to such an understanding of the issue of relations with Germany at some other time and without what we had gone through together with Europe and with the Germans. Both we and the Germans said: let history take care of itself. As a result, a solution appeared. (Ed. note: It is interesting to compare the paucity of documented literature on Russian/ Soviet-Japanese postwar relations, compared to that on the German question.)
I interpreted these words as a confirmation of my inner conviction that Gorbachev was inclined to resolve the issue. To resolve it-granted, through compromise,but in any case in such a way that it would also satisfy the Japanese. Already there was no suggestion that the issue itself did not exist, as had been the assertion in Gromyko's time, and as it was at first under Gorbachev. The problem was recognized and, this meant, it would have to be resolved. Gorbachev also proposed to resolve it within the framework of his philosophy" of gradual movement along the lines of an all-around improvement of relations, while ever more closely including in the process everything that was connected with the islands....
In the end, after a long and roundabout discussion from both sides, Gorbachev posed the question directly: you advocate cooperation and expect courageous steps. What do you have in mind? That was the very question Ozawa was waiting for. He said the following: the entire Japanese people expects a visit from the President of the USSR. We hope that he will turn a new historical page in our relations and will lend them a new, close character. But there are problems. I think that you understand that I am talking about the four islands—Kunashir, Iturup, Habomai, and Shikotan. We are waiting for a recognition in principle from you of our country's sovereignty over these islands. I want to assure you that from the point of view of material, practical gain, these islands mean little to
Japan. This problem is a matter of principle which touches the entire people, the foundation of the entire nation.
Gorbachev once again returned to his conception: the problem was born of a historical process. And history in one way or another will resolve it. I always say: let's get away from the old position. Let's meet each other halfway. I don't see any other way. I am revealing to you our approaches on the ways to move forward.
And he went on: in recent years, the attitude toward the Japanese in our society has significantly changed. It has become very positive. But at the same time, the (public opinion) surveys both on Sakhalin and in the Khabarovsk region do mean something. Everything is interconnected, and everything cannot be changed at once. I understand: the Japanese people do not feel any better for this, and you cannot discard the problem of the islands. For that reason, we must agree to cooperate and at the same time to conduct negotiations on a peace treaty. Both processes will cross-fertilize one another and bring about a positive result. Here history must take care of itself. Perhaps it is very close, and perhaps far away. Look at how rapidly everything happened in Germany.
Taking heart from these hints, Ozawa once again went on the attack and wanted to get a more definite (response), if not a final revelation of Gorbachev’s intentions. The matter was concluded in the following passages.
Ozawa. Well then, are we to wait 50 to 100 years?
Gorbachev. I think that life will make that clear. But if (our) alienation continues, then the resolution of any issues is problematic. I am proposing what will help to resolve all the issues. And life changes the times. If we want to ennoble our relations in the future, to deepen trust, then this is just what is needed. I am convinced that this is a realistic prospect.
Ozawa. I do not fully understand what you just said. What concretely stands behind that?
Gorbachev. I have told you the most important thing. Of course, that will have to take some sort of political form. It will also take into account the problems which you are bringing up. What I am saying does not remove those problems. In Tokyo we will discuss the entire complex of issues without exceptions. As for what we will be able to agree on and what solutions we will come up with, we shall see.
Ozawa left the conversation, judging by everything, both inspired and puzzled. Because very soon thereafter, there began a flurry of activity. Calls came in from (Ozawa) himself and from his entourage with the request for a repeat conversation with Gorbachev. It was unheard of for Gorbachev, once he had concluded a conversation and said all that he wanted to, right away to return to what had been gone over. But this time he made an exception, once again considering and respecting the “specifics of the Japanese case."
Ozawa made a lengthy apology and explained that he had not had time to say everything he had come with from Japan, and that he thought that he had not been able to