Russia has announced that it plans to send its soon to be delivered French Mistral helicopter carriers to the Kuril Islands - the Japanese Northern Territories - which Russia occupies since the end of the Word War II:
Russia announced Friday that it may send one or even two of the high-tech warships it is buying from France to help protect a chain of islands that are being bitterly claimed by Japan.
The statement from Russia's top general is likely to infuriate the Japanese government and further escalate a simmering row that flared during an unprecedented November visit to the Kurils by President Dmitry Medvedev.
Read the entire AFP news article here.
Former Japanese ambassador to France, Kazuo Ogoura, now political science professor at Aoyama Gakuin University questions whether Russia can be a real partner for Japan and the West:
Russia is in danger of becoming an element of concern or a potential source of instability in East Asia.
Nationalism-oriented and authoritarianism-tilted Russian politics is likely to discourage movement in China toward democracy and may even encourage continuation of the dictatorial regime in North Korea. In any event, the latest political developments in Russia make people wonder once again whether Russia can be a real politico-economic partner to Japan, Europe, the United States and other like-minded countries in Asia and the Pacific.
The Russian stance and actions with regard to the Northern Territories is not, in essence, a bilateral issue between Japan and Russia; it is a litmus test of the Russian image and position as recognized by the international community.
Read the entire article in the Japan Times here.
It would be very sad indeed if French arms technology would be used against the interests of a key NATO partner country.