The Saturday editions of all national dailies reported on Russian President Putin’s remarks at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on Friday. The Russian leader reportedly announced that Russia will establish a special economic zone in the Northern Territories to attract foreign investment by providing tax breaks for ten years. Yomiuri and Sankei speculated that the announcement was intended to send a warning to Japan by clearly expressing Russia’s intention to promote the development of the disputed islands. Tuesday’s Mainichi and Sankei wrote that Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato told reporters on Monday that Japan has objected to the idea through diplomatic channels.
Putin also expressed his intention to continue peace treaty talks with Japan on issues including the Northern Territories by saying it is “nonsense” that there is no peace treaty between Japan and Russia. However, the Russian leader added that the negotiations must be accompanied by assurances of Russia’s security. According to Asahi, Putin said that although Moscow has raised its concerns with Japan that the U.S. might deploy troops or missiles in the Northern Territories if they are returned to Japan, it has received no response from Tokyo on the matter.