One of the reasons that negotiations between Japan and Russia over the return of the northern territories continue to make little progress is Russia’s military situation. Here, we look into the strategic value of the northern territories to Russia and the tasks ahead for Japan, based on analysis from Shinji Hyodo, director of the Regional Studies Department at the Defense Ministry’s National Institute for Defense Studies who is an expert on Russian security.
When thinking about the strategic value of the four northern islands, we need to take a comprehensive view of Russia’s security.
The first thing to bear in mind is that the presidential decree issued by Russian President Vladimir Putin in May 2012 set out a national defense policy of reinforcing sea power in order to ensure Russia’s strategic interests in the Arctic and the Far East.
The Arctic Sea and the far eastern Sea of Okhotsk.....