The military value of the Northern Territories that no one points out The reality of territorial negotiations where military cards make a big deal (1/5) | JBpress (JBpress)

The reality of territorial negotiations where the military card makes a big difference

Japan-Russia summit fails to reach a breakthrough in Northern Territories talks

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (left) hold a joint press conference after the Japan-Russia summit in Moscow, Russia, on January 22, 2019. (c)Alexander NEMENOV / POOL / AFP[AFPBB News]

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(Nata Kuon: novelist, military critic)

At the Japan-Russia summit meeting on January 22, 2019, where advance reports had whispered progress in negotiations for the return of the Northern Territories, President Putin made a positive remark that “a solution is possible.” I couldn’t find any information.

However, in such important negotiations, the status of negotiations is often not made public until an agreement is reached, so there is a possibility that the negotiations are actually progressing. In the past, the Japanese side was criticized by Russia for leaking information to the media that appeared to be an observation balloon, so it is inappropriate to criticize the government for the lack of new information.

Rather, considering that President Putin made a reference at the end of 2018 that appears to have intended the deployment of US forces, it is possible that negotiations have entered a new stage. On the other hand, in response to this remark, the media in Japan suddenly began to refer to military and security issues.

In this paper, I would like to provide an overview of the military value of the Northern Territories, which is difficult to say well understood, and to help predict the future of the negotiations.

Military Value of the Northern Territories

From a military point of view, let’s sort out the reasons why Russia does not want to return the Northern Territories.

(1) Impact on Russia’s Nuclear Deterrence Strategy

Russia’s nuclear arsenal relies primarily on land-launched and submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Of these, the Northern Territories issue has a major impact on submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

Ground-launched ballistic missiles, even mobile ones, can be detected by satellites and destroyed before launch. For this reason, both the United States and Russia tend to emphasize submarine-launched ballistic missiles as a so-called retaliatory nuclear force (for counterattacking after being attacked).

However, Russia’s naval power is far behind that of the United States. The United States uses strategic missile submarines (nuclear submarines that operate ballistic missiles) in seas around the world, but Russia’s strategic missile submarines are surrounded by the Arctic waters such as the Barents Sea, the Kamchatka Peninsula, and the Kuril Islands. We can only operate properly in the Sea of ​​Okhotsk (However, since we have occupied Crimea, there is a possibility that we will operate strategic submarines in the Black Sea in the future).

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