Putin Offers Japan Peace Deal Without Preconditions

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe greets Russian President Vladimir Putin on September 12 at the 2018 Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok.
Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images

Putin Offers Japan Peace Deal Without Preconditions

Efforts could draw Japan farther away from the U.S. and closer to Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his desire to sign a peace treaty with Japan at a plenary session in Vladivostok with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe on September 12.

Putin took the audience and Prime Minister Abe by surprise when he said, “So here’s the idea I came up with: Let’s conclude a peace treaty, not now, but before the end of the year without any preconditions.”

Abe acted as if he didn’t hear Putin’s peace offer.

On the same day, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga made a statement rejecting Putin’s peace offer: “There is absolutely no change to our country’s perspective of resolving the problem of rights over the Northern Territories before sealing a peace treaty.”

Russia and Japan never signed a peace treaty after World War ii ended. Both nations are still technically at war. Prime Minister Abe has worked rigorously to make a peace deal with Russia, meeting 22 times with Putin to discuss disputes over the Kuril Islands. He told Putin and the audience that Japan’s “relations with Russia hold unlimited potential. Over the long stretch of more than 70 years since the end of World War ii, Japan and Russia have yet to conclude a peace treaty between them. Both Putin and I agreed this is an abnormal state of affairs.”

The biggest stumbling block preventing Russia and Japan from working out a peace treaty is a dispute over the status of an island chain claimed by both nations, known in Russia as the Kuril Islands and in Japan as the Northern Territories.

After World War ii, the Soviet Union seized four islands in the chain, known in Japan and Russia, respectively, as, Etorufu–Iturup, Kunashiri–Kunashir, Shikotan–Shpanberg and Habomai. By 1949, the Soviets had expelled 17,000 Japanese citizens from these islands.

Tokyo remains adamant in asserting that the Northern Territories are rightfully and historically Japanese. Its Ministry of Foreign Affairs said last year, “The Northern Territories are inherent territories of Japan that continue to be illegally occupied by Russia. Return of the Northern Territories has been the ardent wish of the people of Japan, and a deep-rooted movement among the general public for the return of the islands has developed nationwide.”

There is little proof that Russia is willing to relinquish control of the islands. Instead, Putin wants to develop deep economic and political ties with Japan to undermine Japanese reliance on the United States for security.

Japan could take its first steps in establishing a partnership with Russia by boosting its ongoing efforts toward a diplomatic dialogue with Russia. With the U.S. backing away from its global leadership role, Japan finds itself without the protection of America’s security blanket. Last year, Trumpet writer Jeremiah Jacques wrote:

Russia now may be in a position to use the disputed islands as bargaining chips to pressure Japan into reexamining its defense pact with Washington. Many among the leadership in Tokyo, including Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, have long worked to normalize Japan’s military and to unshackle it from U.S. dependence. An offer by Moscow to return some or all of the disputed islands in exchange for Tokyo ousting American forces would give such leaders just one more reason to hasten Japan’s return to full militarism and Tokyo’s break from Washington.

The Russians would not part with the islands painlessly. But to see America’s military influence in the Russian periphery diminished and to gain a powerful Asian partner, the sacrifice could be viewed in Moscow as necessary.

In 1971, when Japan was still staunchly pacifist and wholly dependent on America for defense, Herbert W. Armstrong, editor in chief of the Trumpet’s forerunner magazine, forecast that the nation was laying the economic groundwork upon which it would return to full militarism. “Japan today has no military establishment,” he wrote. “But we should not lose sight of the fact that Japan has become so powerful economically that it could build a military force of very great power very rapidly” (Plain Truth, March 1971).

Mr. Armstrong’s analysis was accurate because it was based on specific Bible prophecies, such as Revelation 16:12, which says a powerful Asian bloc called “the kings of the east” will pool their militaries together in the end time. Scripture shows that these Asian nations will do this in order to confront another power bloc led by Germany.

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry, whose analysis is also based on Bible prophecy, wrote that Russia will ally with China and Japan as a result of a rising European power bloc:

Russia, China and Japan will likely combine in Asian alliances, with the ultimate intention of forcing the U.S. out of the Russian “sphere of influence” and out of the western Pacific. Then, as has been the strategy of the EU, Asian political and economic cooperation will ultimately progress to a military and security alliance.

Ezekiel 38:2 shows that Russia will lead this Asian alliance. Verse 6 says “Gomer” and “Togarmah” (the ancient names for the people living in Japan today) will be part of this alliance. This indicates that the U.S.-Japan alliance will soon come to an end.

As Jacques wrote last year: “If Russia offers Japan territories in exchange for diminishing or ending the U.S.-Japan alliance, it would represent a major step toward the fulfillment of these Bible prophecies and of the coming together of ‘the kings of the east.’”

This news should be viewed as Russia’s latest effort to diminish Japan’s ties to the United States. To understand more, order a free copy of our booklet Russia and China in Prophecy.