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Russian prime minister visits Northern Territories

All national dailies reported that Russian Prime Minister Mishustin visited Etorofu, one of the islands in the Northern Territories, on Monday. He announced that the Russian government will consider establishing a special economic zone in the Northern Territories in which tariffs and corporate taxes will be exempted. Nikkei wrote that the GOJ was alarmed by the visit to the disputed island, regarding it as a move to strengthen Moscow’s practical control of the Northern Territories. Yomiuri and Sankei speculated that the idea of a special zone may affect the planned joint economic activities between Japan and Russia in the Northern Territories.

Japan’s Vice Foreign Minister Mori lodged a protest with Russian Ambassador to Japan Galuzin over Mishustin’s visit. Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato said at a press briefing on Monday that the Russian prime minister’s trip to the island is very regrettable because it runs counter to Japan’s consistent position on the Northern Territories.

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