News was released yesterday of Japan’s Shinzo Abe planning a state visit to Russia to meet with Vladimir Putin. The month of the announced visit to Russia by Japan’s prime minster is officially scheduled for May, 2016. After reading this news, I wanted to know why the Abe LDP circle decided to make a state visit to meet with Russia’s Vladimir Putin in May? This reminded me of a news article I read last year suggesting that Shinzo Abe seemingly plans his itineraries and political agenda around significant dates associated with his father and grandfather when they were in political office. Shinzo Abe’s father was Shintaro Abe and he was Japan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs between 1982 and 1986. Shintaro Abe was the longest reigning foreign minster to hold office in postwar Japan.
“Another important date for Abe was May 15 when the government submitted the national security bills to the Diet. Shintaro Abe, Abe’s father and a former foreign minister, had died exactly 24 years before. Right after the submission of the bills, the prime minister attended a memorial for his father at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo.”
In the news article, it was pointed out that Abe’s ruling LDP coalition had pushed the national security bills through the lower house special committee on July 15 suggesting there were just too many coincidences with these dates. Opposition parties to the LDP boycotted voting on the national security bills demanding further discussions on the controversial bills. The bills have subsequently paved the way for Japan to participate in a greater military role overseas. This “overseas role” marks a critical shift in Japan’s post WWII “defense” policy. Although what day in May has not been announced for Shinzo Abe’s visit to Russia for security reasons, will May 15 be selected for Abe’s planned visit to Russia? May 15, 2016 would mark the 25th year of Shintaro Abe’s death.
July 15 is another important date for Shinzo Abe concerning his grandfather Nobusuke Kishi. It was 55 years ago to the day from the date of July 15, 2015 that Nobusuke Kishi’s cabinet was forced to resign because mounting public opposition over the renewal of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty that he signed in the US White House along with President Eisenhower in 1960. Speculation has it that Abe picked July 15 to “avenge his grandfather’s defeat”.
The meeting in May with Vladimir Putin will include negotiations over the Kuril Islands which Japan and Russia have not brokered a peace treaty over. Russia has not always been so cooperative about working with Japanese companies and economic agreements have prevented better relations between Japan and Russia and finding a solution to the Kuril Islands. The last negotiations over the Kuril Islands took place in Moscow in 2013.
Japan Prime Minister Says Ready to Visit Russia
Russian Presidential Aide Yuri Ushakov said that Shinzo Abe is ready to visit one of Russian regions.
Russia, Japan to Hold Ministerial Meeting Ahead of Abe’s Visit to Russia
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is ready to visit one of Russian regions, Russian Presidential Aide Yuri Ushakov said.
“Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is ready to visit Russia and the Japanese leader’s visit may be carried out not in Moscow, but in one of [Russian] regions,” Ushakov told the Izvestia newspaper on Monday.
The Russian official added that Abe proposed a visit to Russia during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the November 2015 G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey.
Putin was due to travel to Japan in the fall of 2014, but the crisis in Ukraine and Moscow’s strained relations with the West caused the trip to be postponed. A visit was then planned for 2015, but the two sides never announced a set date.
The relations between two countries deteriorated after Tokyo announced support for certain Western economic sanctions against Russia imposed in 2014 over an alleged Moscow’s interference in the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied the claims.