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The Russian-Japanese fishery cooperation near the South Kuril Islands

TINRO izvestiya

2006 Volume 146


UDC 001.83 (100): 639.2/.3

A.A. Kurmazov

(The Russian-Japanese Commission on settlement of the claims connected with fishery, Tokyo, Japan)


Post-war disengagement of the Soviet-Japanese border between the South Kuril Islands and east part of the island of Hokkaido created new conditions to fishing activities in this sea area (the water area at the islands of Kunashir, Iturup, Shikotan and group of small islands of Flat (Habomai) from the Russian side, from the Japanese — the sea areas adjoining the peninsulas of Nemu-ro and Siretoko). The population of adjacent territories of this area to a large extent depends on fishery. The Japanese fishermen made a large number of violations: violation of frontier of USSR/Russia, conducting trade without permissions, etc. The number of detainees here the authorities of the USSR of the Japanese vessels by the time of establishment of 200-mile zones in 1977 reached 1129 cases. The conclusion of two agreements — agreements on trade of a sea cabbage near the lake helped to solve a problem of illegal Japanese trade. Alarm 1963 and 1981 and also agreements on some issues of cooperation in trade of marine living resources, or about so-called & #34; safe промысле" 1998. In the late nineties in Russia the idea about development of islands, joint with Japan, appeared, the range of the Russian offers was very wide. The Japanese side offers various options of joint development of stocks of this sea area also now. But by the present moment the situation considerably changed. Trade of fish resources and their sale in the Japanese market became a basis of economic life of the Russian population on islands. Therefore locals and the Sakhalin administration are negative to offers of further expansion of foreign trade in water areas at the South Kuril Islands as it will create the unnecessary competition to the Russian fishermen. The economy of the adjacent regions of Japan — the ports of Hanasaki, Nemuro, Abasiri, etc. — began to depend on deliveries of fish products by the Russian vessels strongly. There was the international economic symbiosis, the special zone where & #34 was created; де-факто" other rules, than work in other regions of two countries. Fish resources of the Russian zone became a basis of existence of such special area, but his wellbeing is threatened by their overexploitation.

Kurmazov of A.A. Russia-Japan fisheries coopération in the South Kuril marine area//Izv. TINRO. — 2006. — Vol. 146. — P. 343-359.

After WWII, delimitation of the Soviet-Japan marine boundaries between the zones of South Kuril Islands and eastern Hokkaido created new conditions for fisheries activities. The frontier area includes the waters around the islands of Kunashir,

Iturup, Shikotan, and the group of Ploskie Islands (Habomai) from Russian side and the waters at Nemuro and Shiretoko Peninsulas from Japanese side. People living in this area and adjacent territories depend strongly on fishery. In the early after the War, Russian fishery didn&t develop here, but later it became the base of the life for local population. In Nemuro, fisheries became to develop in the first half of the 19 Century, started from the kelps & #34; kombu" harvesting. Nemuro was the main center of the kelp export to China. Later the crabs, cod and other species fisheries had developed, too. However, Japanese fishermen were left without governmental support and sufficient fishing grounds after the WWII. That&s why they made a huge number of violations — illegal enters in the territorial waters of the Soviet Union, fishery without permission, and others. By the year 1977, when the 200-mile economic zones were established, number of Japanese boats captured by Soviet coast guard in the waters of the South Kuril Islands reached 1129 ones.

The problem of illegal Japanese fishery in the Russian waters was allowed by two agreements: Agreement on the kelp harvesting by Japanese fishermen at Signalny Island of 1963, renewed in 1981, and the Agreement & #34; On some aspects of cooperation in the field of the harvesting of marine live resources" or on so called & #34; safety fishery" of 1998. In 1990s, after the USSR collapse, some joint projects were developed on nongovernmental level. In those times, people of the South Kuril Islands were left without state support and need any help, so local authorities made some proposals on joint business on the Islands and in adjacent waters. Japanese side still continues to propose different variants of mutual development of the resources in the South Kuril area. However, situation changed recently. Now the harvesting of marine living resources and selling the harvest to Japanese market is the base of the Islands economy. Therefore, people and the government of Sakhalin region are negative to proposals to widen more the foreign fishery in the South Kuril waters, because it creates unnecessary competition with Russian fishermen. At the same time, economics of some regions on Hokkaido, as the ports Hanasaki, Nemuro, Abashiri, and some others, became dependent strongly on the fish products supplying by Russian vessels from the South Kuril area. Thus, new international economic symbiosis has composed; specific zone has formed where the laws act & #34; de-facto" different from those in other regions of both countries. Fish resources of the Russian waters are the base of this specific area economical system. But well-being of the area is under the menace of over-fishing that is able to worse sufficiently the state of bioresources.

After the Russian-Japanese summit in November, 2005 the mass media began to raise the question & #34; joint economic развития" South Kuril Islands. However, at the same time especially it is not mentioned that cooperation of two countries in this area in the field of fishery with variable success is carried out not the first year. The variability of success is explained by existence of a territorial problem, more precisely, existence of territorial claims from Japan at first to the USSR, and then to Russia as to the successor of the former USSR. Because of it periodically there are difficulties in development of economic relations in this area for political reasons of the parties. However the vital reality forces to look for ways of establishing the economic exchanges necessary both to the population of the South Kuril Islands of Russia, and inhabitants of east neighboring island of Hokkaido.

On a phrase & #34; territorial вопрос" it is necessary to stop separately as it will meet below. And all stated material is connected with this question directly. Views of Russia and Japan on this matter disperse radically. Russia considers that no territorial question exists, and it has no territorial claims to Japan. Territorial acquisitions of Russia in the Pacific Ocean as a result of World War II have strong international legal basis. The Japanese side considers the South Kuril Islands and demands their return from Russia. And if one of the countries neighbors has claims to another, then the problem in the relations after all exists.


In huge degree the position of the state concerning similar problems is formed by Foreign Ministries. Therefore here it is appropriate to provide a statement on problems of the relations with Japan of I.S. Ivanov (at that time the Russian foreign minister): & #34; At the same time remains not settled a question of international legal registration of the line of the Russian-Japanese frontier near the Southern Kurils. It is obvious that the solution of this complex problem has to be mutually acceptable, not cause damage to sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Russian Federation, be equitable to national interests, be based on the existing realities, get broad support of the public, to be the established constitutional order approved according to the supreme legislative bodies both стран" (Ivanov, 2001, page 158). Other Russian experts in the field of international law also point that international legal registration of the line of the Russian-Japanese border near the South Kuril Islands is not complete (Mikhaylov, 2005).

Absence in the considered region of frontier with Japan issued in the international legal relation as it is demanded by the Act of the Russian Federation & #34; About Frontier..." (1996), just also creates roughnesses on the way of development of the Russian-Japanese economic communications in adjacent areas. It leaves a mark on living conditions of the population of the area both from Russian, and from the Japanese side.

Life of the population of the Russian South Kuril Islands completely depends on production of natural resources — first of all water biological — and their realization in the Russian and external markets. It could depend also on state programs of development of the region and government grants. Both programs, and grants in the theory exist, but practice shows their minimum value for ordinary people. Everyone survives alone. On it yuzhnokurilets also build the life. Existence in coastal waters of sea bioresources and also proximity of rather expensive sales market of the neighboring areas of the island of Hokkaido helps to survive. The distance to the next Japanese ports of Ne-muro, Hanasaki, Kushiro, Rausu, Abasiri, Mombetsu is ten times shorter, than to Sakhalin, not to mention other regions of Russia. Important and what in most cases the fish products in Japan are much more expensive of, than in Russia. An opportunity to sell a catch quickly and expensively becomes a favorable condition for distribution of poaching and smuggling. There is also an additional factor which promotes it — insufficiency of the state administrative and legal measures of management.

Residents of the nearby regions of Hokkaido also to a great extent depend on fishery. The example of Nemuro is indicative. During formation of capitalism in Japan the origin of economic life to Hokkaido (during this period the most northern, the outskirts which are not developed economically at all) took place in the last quarter of 18 century in two centers: in Hakodate in a southwest part of the island and Nemuro in the east. Nemuro began to develop thanks to rich marine living resources, especially sea cabbage which trade and processing gained considerable development here after 1833. This city became the main Japanese center of export of products of a sea cabbage to China (the Person..., 1981).

Fishermen of Nemuro began to conduct crab-catching around the island of Kunashir in 1905, however and during the subsequent period the sea cabbage remained the main object of thought and foreign trade. In 1928 from Nemuro to China it is exported products of a sea cabbage for the sum of 1.83 million yens (the Person..., 1981).

Often cooperation begins with contradictions and even the conflicts. The region of the South Kuril Islands did not become an exception. This zone during the post-war period was still of great interest to the Hokkaido fishermen. The USSR also quickly understood importance of this area for fishery.

In the first post-war years the Soviet fishery science began to develop new fishing areas and fish stocks near the southern Sakhalin and the South Kuril Islands. The expedition under the leadership of G.U. Lindberg (1947 — 1949) revealed trade congestions kambat, crabs also were defined by efficiency of ground communities. In these areas the assessment of stocks of salmons, seaweed — laminarias and anfeltion was carried out (People. Science. Ocean, 1975). Since 1953 the fishing of a saury which to the middle of the 1980th was conducted only in the Southern Kuril district was begun (Karedin, 1988). Vodoroslevy capacity of the area was highly appreciated by experts of TIN-RO very much: up to 90% of production of all seaweed recommended for trade on the Far East Basin (Erukhimovich, etc., 1988).

Suppression of illegal Japanese trade near the South Kuril Islands and normalization of the Soviet-Japanese relations

In post-war years in spite of the fact that following the results of World War II the southern part of the Kuril Islands departed to the USSR, the Japanese fishermen of the northeast of Hokkaido & #34; привычку" (more true, vital need) messages did not lose trade in waters at the islands of Kunashir, Iturup, Habomai and Shikotan. The character and scales of such trade were such as though the Japanese fishermen conducted trade in the waters. The number of violations of the border established to the USSR in this area was considerable. Though not always, but periodically for such violations the Soviet patrol vessels detained the Japanese fishermen. Before introduction of 200-mile exclusive economic zones and territorial waters 12 miles wide, i.e. till 1977, the number of the Japanese vessels detained by the Soviet authorities reached 1129 (tab. 1).

Table 1

Number of the Japanese vessels violators detained by law enforcement agencies of the USSR in a northwest part of the Pacific Ocean in 1946-1976. (Year-book..., 1977)

Table 1

Number of Japanese violating fishing boats captured by Soviet coast guard in the North-West Pacific in 1946-1976 (Year-book..., 1977)

Number vessels Number crews, people

The area Only Vozvra- Not beliefs- The flood- Only Vozvra- Not beliefs- Died -

shcheno nulisnutsya Lena shcheno nulisnutsya whether


islands 1,129 669 439 21 8,104 8,064 12 28

SZTO 405 270 131 4 4,638 4,628 1 9

Only 1,534 939 570 25 12,742 12,692 13 37

Among the detained vessels of 91% made vessels with the island of Hokkaido. In turn, 90% of the Hokkaido courts were vessels from Nemuro. Most of all for all this time it was detained vessels crab (31%) and also salmon (13%) trade, and in the 70th their number was prevailing (the Year-book..., 1977).

In 1952. The governorship of Hokkaido and the Headquarters of Management of safety at the sea of Japan established so-called & #34; potentially dangerous район". After in 1977 the USSR established a 200-mile economic zone, the Hokkaido association of fishery managers established for fishermen of east Hokkaido & #34; line самоограничения". It was the additional measure to prevent unauthorized calling of the Japanese fishing vessels USSR waters near the South Kuril Islands and to avoid their arrests by the Soviet frontier guards. The line passed along east coast of Hokkaido from the cape of Siretoko to the cape Nosappu, almost coinciding with the middle line of demarcation

sea spaces between the South Kuril Islands and the island of Hokkaido (Honda, 2004). Thus work on prevention of incidents and detentions of ships was conducted, municipalities of domicile and fishing circles in every way sought to achieve implementation & #34; safe промысла" in this sea area.

In 1956 between the USSR and Japan the interstate relations were restored, in 1958 in Nemuro the office of Association of the Japanese-Soviet friendship which channels were used as well for the solution of fate of the detained Japanese fishermen is opened. In 1962 the government of Japan created the budget & #34; on the island Kaygara" (lake. Alarm) for the sum of 6 million yens for assistance to families of the Japanese fishermen detained in the Soviet waters. The charter of Nemuro also provided measures of support of families of local fishermen (the Person..., 1981), arrested by the Soviet authorities for violations of frontier of the USSR and rules of conducting trade. The Japanese authorities did not consider the detained fishermen violators. However, in later years and in Japan, prosecutions began to take criminal measures against fishermen who intentionally organized such incidents.

In June, 1966 Nemuro was visited by the Minister of fishery of the USSR A.A. Ishkov, it was accompanied by the ambassador of the USSR in Japan V.M. Vinogradov. As a sign of strengthening of the Japanese-Soviet friendship the residents of Nemuro directed fruit and vegetables to the island of Shikotan. 10 Japanese fishermen are released by the Soviet authorities and returned to Japan. The mayor Mr. Ekota by the invitation of the Minrybkhoz of the USSR visited the Soviet Union (the Person..., 1981).

Agreement on trade of a sea cabbage

Attempts to smooth sharpness of a problem of violations and arrests by means of gestures of good will, thus, did both parties, but in a root the situation did not change. Legal bases for trade by the Japanese fishermen near the Southern Kuril islands were not. The agreement on trade of a sea cabbage near Lesser Kuril Ridge became the first bilateral Soviet-Japanese contract which allowed to resolve partially a problem of violations of the Soviet sea border in the south of the Kuril Islands.

Trying to solve a problem of conducting legal trade in adjacent with Japanese the Soviet waters, in 1959 the fishery managers of the Region of Nemuro sent the message to the president of Vseyaponsky association of fishery managers (at that time K. Takasaki) with a request for taking measures for resumption of trade of a sea cabbage near the lake. Alarm Lesser Kuril Ridge. Also fishermen invited the president of association to visit Nemuro for acquaintance with a situation on the place. The central authorities of Japan badly represented degree of dependence of local fishermen on such trade and their difficult situation because of the shortage of trade areas (Sayto, 1981).

The initiative of the Hokkaido fishermen took effect, and in the subsequent during the meetings with the top management of the USSR (N.S. Khrushchev and A.I. Mikoyan) the Japanese side appealed to allow trade of a sea cabbage to the Japanese fishermen near the lake. Alarm. She reasoned the offer with the fact that the Japanese fishermen (generally small family business) of the adjacent area extremely need this trade, and in the Soviet Union the stocks of cabbage of this area are not used at all.

In April, 1963 from the ambassador of the USSR in Japan V.M. Vinogradov to the president of Vseyaponsky association of fishery managers K. Takasaki the unexpected offer to send the Japanese representatives to Moscow for negotiating on trade of a sea cabbage followed.

In 1963 the text is developed and on June 10 an Agreement between the State committee on fishery at Council of the national economy is signed

The USSR and Vseyaponsky association of fishery managers about trade of a sea cabbage by the Japanese fishermen near the lake. Alarm (Kaygar) (Collection..., 1966). The USSR concluded this agreement, moving towards wishes of small family business of fishermen of the peninsula of Nemuro and wishing to contribute to the development of the relations of neighborliness and strengthening of cooperation between two countries which then was characterized by rise in level of communications, expansion of contacts.

In 1977 the effect of the agreement was interrupted in connection with introduction of the USSR and Japan of 200-mile zones and adoption of the relevant acts making impossible continuation of the Japanese trade on a former basis. According to the Decree of Presidium of the Supreme Council of the USSR & #34; About temporary measures for preservation of living resources and regulation of fishery in the sea areas adjacent to the coast CCCP" of October 10, 1976 the Japanese fishermen had to recognize further a line of demarcation *, dividing territorial waters of two countries. Additional difficulties for Japanese arose in connection with adoption of law of Japan of May 2, 1977 & #34; About the temporary measures relating to fishing районам". The Japanese side created difficulties to itself. Introduction of the law on temporary measures established also border of territorial waters 12 nautical miles wide. The fishing area of a sea cabbage, thus, appeared how the Japanese side considered, in territorial waters of Japan. On this foundation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan did not begin to agree with the offer of the USSR on conducting trade of a sea cabbage by the Japanese fishermen on the permissions given by the Soviet part. Political ambitions of Japanese at this moment got the best of common sense and economic feasibility. Therefore the Japanese side in 1977 decided to refuse continuation of trade on new conditions.

The Japanese side decided to refuse trade in new conditions how we see, for political motives. However in 1977-1979 after cancellation of the Agreement of 1963 the Japanese fishery managers repeatedly appealed to the Soviet part about resumption of negotiations for trade continuation. In particular, such proposal was made the minister of fishery of the USSR by A.A. To Ishkov the vice president of Vseyaponsky association of fishery managers M. Kawabata upon termination of intergovernmental negotiations on a salmon in April, 1978 (Nakagawa, 1981).

The Soviet legislation provided a possibility of implementation of foreign trade within territorial waters only on the basis of agreements of the USSR with other states and on the basis of the licenses (permissions) granted by the Soviet authorized bodies.

After consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and also as a result of work of other competent organizations of the USSR (the Central Committee of the CPSU, Council of ministers of the USSR, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR, the Minrybkhoz of the USSR, KGB of the USSR, the Ministry of Defence of the USSR, etc.) in 1979. The council of ministers of the USSR made the final decision on a possibility of negotiation between Minrybkhoz of the USSR and the Hokkaido association of fishery managers according to the conclusion of the new agreement on trade of a sea cabbage in territorial waters of the USSR at the lake. Alarm which subsequently (after signing) received the name & #34; Agreement between Ministry of Fisheries of the USSR and Hokkaido association of fishery managers on trade of a sea cabbage Japanese рыбаками" (1981).

The position of the USSR then consisted in the following:

— to conduct negotiations with the Japanese side only on condition of respect by Japan of sovereignty of the Soviet Union on waters where trade will be carried out;

* Has no status of frontier yet.


— to conclude the agreement on trade of a sea cabbage by the Japanese fishermen in territorial waters of the USSR at the intergovernmental level and on mutually advantageous conditions;

— to give to the Japanese fishermen an opportunity for a certain payment to get a sea cabbage on the site of territorial waters of the USSR at the lake. Alarm;

— in exchange the Japanese side had to agree to implementation of reloading works by fishing vessels in waters of Japan at coasts of the islands of Hokkaido and Honshu and also on calling of the Soviet fishery vessels the Japanese ports for repair and receiving supply.

On April 25, 1979 in Minrybkhoz of the USSR such negotiations were begun, but interrupted because of a strong divergence of positions of the parties.

Spring of 1980 at the request of the Japanese side the negotiations were resumed. The Japanese side presented the project which dispersed from Soviet on three main conditions: the name of the island *, the procedure of delivery of permissions and recognition of the Soviet jurisdiction around alleged trade. Two more rounds of negotiations were the same year carried out and the decision on continuation of negotiations in 1981


At last is made, an agreement between Minrybkho-z of the USSR and the Hokkaido association of fishery managers, i.e. at the non-governmental level was signed on August 25, 1981. Conditions of the Soviet part on which the Japanese fishermen were obliged to respect the laws and rules of the USSR existing in the area of effect of the agreement and also to pay the right of trade in the Japanese yens were accepted.

On the basis of annually signed protocol on extension of the agreement the Japanese fishermen are allowed to conduct trade of a sea cabbage in the limited area adjoining a boundary line opposite to the cape Nosappu of the island of Hokkaido (Nemuro) and the island of Tanfilyeva. It is not specified in the agreement that it is about territorial waters and the lake. Alarm, only area coordinates are given (see the drawing).

Since 1987 simultaneous trade of a sea hedgehog for which cabbage forms a food supply was begun (the high density of a hedgehog reduces productivity of cabbage on sites of joint dwelling). By 1993 the problem of preservation of thickets of a sea cabbage was solved, and trade only of a sea cabbage (tab. 2) was again continued.

After in December, 1991 the Soviet Union broke up, the state successor of USSR, including by the international rights and obligations, there was the Russian Federation. Therefore since 1992. The Hokkaido association of fishery managers pays means for the right of trade to the Russian side. These means according to the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation & #34; About social and economic development Kuril островов" No. 1549 of December 8, 1992 have to go for financing of specific projects on the South Kuril Islands.

375 motor boats with the displacement from 3 to 5 t participate in trade (up to 3 people of team, generally family members) which during a trade season from June 1 till end of September extract raw of a sea cabbage and then produce 500-900 t of products.

The agreement between Ministry of Fisheries of the USSR and the Hokkaido association of fishery managers on trade of a sea cabbage by the Japanese fishermen of 1981 has the features. First, it & #34; асимметрично" (from the Russian side — federal department, with Japanese — public

* The Japanese side in the project left the Japanese name of the island — Kaygara.

island of Shnkotan

Flat (Habomai)

island of Hokkaido

Fishing areas under the Agreement of 1998

island of Hokkaido

island of Tanfilyeva

\lake. Alarm

m to Noyeapp

island of Anuchina

Peninsula of Nemuro

The fishing area of a sea cabbage under the Agreement of 1981

organization). Secondly, it has compromise character as concerns the area, the rights for which challenge contracting parties. Thirdly, it is not ratified by parliaments of two countries as interdepartmental, and in addition & #34; асимметричное" the agreement parliament ratifitsiro-vat cannot, but as a result of exchange of notes of the MFA of the parties it was given the status of the international treaty.

Thus, the arrangement on trade of a sea cabbage created legal bases for work in the Russian territorial waters in the Southern Kuril district of the Japanese vessels interested in such trade. But it did not solve a problem of violations in general as in the same area the Japanese fishermen continued to conduct fishing and other objects, often allowing violations of the Russian sea border.

Fishing areas of the Japanese fishermen in waters at the South Kuril Islands under the Russian-Japanese agreements 1981 and 1998 of and the area & #34; треугольника" where researches of crabs and a cod in 1991-1995 were conducted

The areas of Japanese boats fishing near South Kuril Islands under the Russia-Japan agreements of 1981 and 1998, and & #34; triangle" area, where the joint research of crabs and cod were conducted in 1991-1995

Agreement on some issues of cooperation in trade of marine living resources

Since November, 1993 the Russian side began to apply rigid methods of suppression of violations of the Japanese fishermen, in particular firings of vessels. Besides, same year it was arrested nine Japanese fishing sudov*. In 1994 the head of Southern Kuril administration N.A. Pokidin made the proposal on trade by the Japanese fishermen in the waters adjacent to the islands of South Kuril Islands. After that intergovernmental negotiations for realization & #34 began; safe промысла" which proceeded 4 years.

* All until the conclusion of the intergovernmental agreement on trade the South Kuril Islands had 1998 more than 1700 incidents which were followed by arrests of the Japanese fishing vessels.

Table 2

Trade of a sea cabbage by the Japanese fishermen at the lake. 1981, alarm on Agreement. (White paper..., 1991, 1994, 1998, 2001, 2004)

Table 2

Japanese fishermen & #34; Kombu" (Kelps) of Harvesting near Signalny Island by Agreement of 1981 (White paper..., 1991, 1994, 1998, 2001, 2004)

Indicator 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992

Sea cabbage

Number of vessels 330 330 375 375,375 375 375 375 375 375 375 375

Payment for the right of fishing, million yens 66.0 66.0 75.0 78.75 91.36 107.5 110.5 115.0 115.0 118.0 120.0 122.0

Volume of collecting, t 559 1298 633 964,928 734 1,031 680 735 582 860 809

Sea hedgehog

Number of vessels - - - - - 18 18 10 10 10 10

Payment for the right of fishing, million yens - - - - - 57 62 36 38.38 42 43

Volume of collecting, t - - - - - 260 260 130 130 128 68

Indicator 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004

Sea cabbage

Number of vessels

Payment for the right of fishing, million yens 122.0 124.0 124.0 124,0 124,0 124.0 124.0 124.0 124.0 124.0 120.0 122.0

Volume of collecting, t 842 456 656 362,274 486 272 572 464 737 420 825

Sea hedgehog

Number of vessels - - - - - - - - - - -

Payment for the right of fishing, million yens - - - - - - - - - - -

Volume of collecting, t - - - - - - - - - - -

Note. The volume of collecting — ton, for cabbage in dry weight, for a hedgehog — weight in a sink. Since 2003, restrictions for the maximum volume of collecting are introduced (in crude weight): in 2003 — 5000 t, in 2004 — 5000 t, in 2005 — 5600 t.

In 1998 the Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of Japan on some issues of cooperation in trade of marine living resources was concluded (1999).

The purposes of this arrangement are given in Article 1 of the agreement: the parties cooperate for implementation of trade of living resources by the Japanese fishing vessels in the sea area limited to the direct geodetic lines which are consistently connecting points to the coordinates specified in the Appendix at the islands of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai and also preservation, rational use and reproduction of living resources in this sea area according to the present agreement.

The Japanese side constantly intentionally distorts the official name of the agreement and presents it in mass media as & #34; The Agreement about safe промысле" who is allegedly imprisoned with the purpose the interested Japanese fishermen could conduct safe trade (without risk to be fired or arrested) in a 12-mile zone near the South Kuril Islands (see the drawing).

Emergence of the agreement was initiated by the Japanese side for two reasons. First, insufficiency of trade sites for conducting fishing and need to broaden such sites what industrialists of the District of Nemuro especially insisted on. Secondly, firings and arrests of the Japanese vessels which risked to conduct fishing in territorial waters of Russia by the Russian frontier guards continued (the Year-book..., 2003). The agreement was based on a parcel not of causing damage to positions of the governments of both countries on problems of the mutual relations.

Specific conditions of trade on the basis of the agreement define during annual negotiations of the Russian authorized organizations and associations of the Japanese fishermen. The Japanese fishermen conduct trade of a pollock and greenling by branchiate networks and also hook fishing of an octopus.

For 2005 around effect of the agreement 2180 t of marine resources on condition of payment of 21.3 million yens are allocated to the Japanese fishermen. Besides, the Japanese side has to put research materials and the equipment for the sum of 21.1 million yens for rendering assistance to the Russian side in restoration of stocks of marine resources. The contents of arrangements of previous years are presented in tab. 3.

Table 3

Conditions of trade of the Japanese vessels near the South Kuril Islands under the Agreement of 1998

Table 3

The Fishery conditions for Japanese boats in the area of the South Kuril Islands under Agreement of 1998

Indicator 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005

Allowed volume of catch, t 1190 (2252) 2,252 2,252 2,330 2,180 2,180 2,180 2,180


catch, t 850.0 1834.0 1048.0 1097.13 1340.0 1310.84 1187.36 655.0 *

Payment sotrudni-

chestvo, million yens 1020.0 20.0 20.0 22.0 21.3 21.3 21.3 21.3

Deliveries oborudo-

vaniye, million yens 15.0 15.0 15.0 23.0 21.1 21.1 21.1 21.1

* Preliminary data.

At the same time there is one unresolved question which mainly worries the Japanese side. Around effect of the agreement periodically there are damages of the Japanese tools of fishing by the Russian trawlers, but

so far measures (competent authorities of the parties) for avoidance of such cases and their settlement on the place in case of emergence are not accepted. In this case it is about the Russian territorial waters where the Russian laws and rules of fishery work, and the Russian side is not obliged to agree on the legislation in the territory with other countries.

If in Japan the conclusion of this agreement was met in general positively from the point of view of both politicians, and fishermen, then in Russia assessment was ambiguous and contradictory. It is possible to give a discussion on pages of the magazine as an example & #34; Fish хозяйство" (Zilanov, 1998; Trade under the law, 1998).

Considering background of emergence of the agreement, some participants of a discussion gave as the positive fact firings in 1994-1995 of the Japanese violators of the Russian borders near the South Kuril Islands for reduction of number of violations (Zilanov, 1998). A last resort, and the number of violations was really reduced from 8-10 thousand cases in the 1970-1980th and the beginning of the 1990th till 12-15 (it is necessary to notice that in Soviet period to frontier guards forbade to open fire).

Participants of a discussion differently estimated legal capacity of frontier guards to carry out examinations in case of suspicions of the correct conducting trade (Zilanov, 1998; Trade under the law, 1998). The representative of the MFA of Russia V.I. Saplin insisted that the possibility of carrying out examinations of the Japanese vessels is provided by the agreement. Other participant of a discussion, V.K. Zilanov, claimed that in the text of the agreement there are no mentions of control measures behind the Japanese trade from the Russian bodies of fish conservation and frontier service.

The Russian legislation — the Federal law & #34; About an exclusive economic zone of Russian Federatsii" (1998) — really provides examination of foreign vessels, but in an exclusive economic zone. This situation does not belong to the territorial sea where no foreign trade can be carried out. In this case very unusual, rare situation when foreign trade in the Russian territorial waters is allowed on the basis of the intergovernmental agreement takes place. From here probably and discrepancy of comments.

Till 2005 the cases of examinations and arrests of the Japanese vessels when conducting trade under the agreement actually were not. But on November 3, 2005 in the Russian territorial waters around the island of Kunashir the Japanese fishing vessel which conducted trade under the Agreement of 1998 as for this purpose the Russian frontier guards had bases was looked through and detained. Check confirmed correctness of the assumptions of the Russian competent organizations. The fact of detention caused a squall of negative publications in the Japanese press which coordinated these actions of the Russian authorities to the forthcoming visit of the president V.V. Putin to Japan. Really, after the visit of the Russian president the Japanese vessel was released. The Japanese press became silent and did not return to this question more. And the Russian side from now on has a precedent of checks of foreign vessels in the territorial waters on the basis of the Agreement of 1998

The agreement of 1998 has compromise and vague character. It is not ratified by the parties, as well as the agreement on a sea cabbage. Differently treated it in Russia and Japan. Let's not give a political assessment, we will address practical value of this arrangement. It allowed to reduce to a minimum cases of violations and illegal trade around effect of the agreement. Forms for conducting trade on legal, though compromise, a basis were found. Firings and arrests of the Japanese vessels stopped. Grew -

the siysky party receives from the Japanese fishery managers a payment for the right of trade in the Russian territorial waters which in this arrangement & #34; mutual уступок" is called & #34; payment for cooperation and deliveries оборудования".

At the same time, by estimates of the Japanese press, this party of the agreement — payment — in Japan meant loss of appeal of such trade for a part of the interested circles (Safe trade..., 2005). Here the Japanese press speaks on behalf of the Japanese fishermen. However the Japanese fleet continues work within the Agreement of 1998 the seventh year, and yet there are no hints on desire this work to stop. Most likely, in this assessment of the Agreement of 1998 given by the Japanese media the bias and not really well camouflaged attempt to stir interest of the Japanese inhabitant in a problem of ownership of the South Kuril Islands as this interest in Japan falls every year is.

Thus, near the South Kuril Islands Russia and Japan signed two international treaties which work now and regulate trade of the Japanese fishermen in the Russian territorial sea. The Japanese side continues to challenge territorial accessory of islands and adjacent sea water areas. But & #34; де-факто" the Japanese vessels conduct trade under the Russian laws and on the basis of the international agreements with the Russian Federation here.

Other forms of fishery cooperation of Russia and Japan near the South Kuril Islands

Besides the mentioned international treaties, there were also other examples when Russia and Japan agreed about trade by the Japanese fishermen in this water area on a non-governmental basis.

External borders of territorial waters of Russia between islands of the Southern Kuril ridge in Yuzhno-Kurilsk the passage form the water area where the regime not of the territorial sea, but a 200-mile exclusive economic zone * is in place (see the drawing). Before establishment of 200-mile zones in 1977 the Japanese fishermen could conduct trade on the basis of freedom of fishing in the high sea here. Small water area, but rather ryboproduktivny.

With establishment in 1977 of a 200-mile zone of the USSR in this area lovushechny trade of a crab since 1978, and since 1986 any trade was forbidden the Japanese fishermen. However as the Hokkaido fishery managers expressed strong aspiration renew

Washington Sherman
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