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How NOT to negotiate

I do not suppose that many people on this side of the world could declare, hand on heart, that they know where the Southern Kurils are, but this is where they are to be found:


Along with the southern half of Sakhalin / Karafuto, the islands were taken by the Soviet Union in 1945, and the inhabitants forcibly removed. The Japanese are not entirely happy about this. More on the dispute here.

Anyway, fast forwarding 64 years, The Japan Times notes the following: "Government officials must refrain from making comments suggesting Japan is willing to compromise in territorial negotiations and instead demand that Moscow return all four Russian-held islets off Hokkaido, a group of conservative professors and former diplomats said Thursday in Tokyo".

Not an unreasonable stance to take, as generally one does not either brag about the aces in the cards one has been dealt or bemoan the twos and threes to one's fellow gamblers.

However, this is all a bit late in the day - "[in a] statement critical of former Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi. It was reported in early April that Yachi said Tokyo could settle for a partial return of Kunashiri, Etorofu and Shikotan islands and the Habomai islets".

Maybe the Russians will be sporting and pretend that they missed Yachi's comments.

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