The G7 Summit: Japan puts diplomatic pressure on Yeltsin

MUNICH - There are signs that Boris Yeltsin, the Russian President, who will attend post-summit talks with the Group of Seven leaders tomorrow, may not receive an automatic invitation to a similar session at the conclusion of next year's summit, writes Peter Torday. Senior G7 officials said Japan, which will host the summit next year, has quietly lobbied its partners to drop the idea of issuing an invitation to Mr Yeltsin to next year's meetings.

The Japanese plan is not intended to exclude the Russian President from future G7 summits. But it is intended to increase the pressure on Mr Yeltsin to return the four Kurile islands off Japan's northern coast, which were seized by Stalin at the end of the Second World War, before the 1993 summit takes place.

Mr Yeltsin, who arrives in Munich today, said yesterday that other leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States had authorised him to ask for several years' deferral of interest and principal repayments on the Soviet foreign debt. Theo Waigel, Germany's Finance Minister, said that a debt moratorium could be on the cards. But there are clear differences between G7 nations over how to treat Mr Yeltsin when he arrives, of which the most prominent is Japan's reluctance over its lost territories.

At last year's summit, Japan unsuccessfully pressed Mikhail Gorbachev to hand back the islands. Despite Mr Gorbachev's refusal to do so, Japan agreed to participate in a plan, hatched earlier this year, to assemble a dollars 24bn ( pounds 12.6bn) financial aid package for Russia, the first tranche of which was formally unlocked yesterday. But Japan's patience on the islands issue appears to have run out. It plans to exploit its role as future summit host to the full. A decision on whether to invite Mr Yeltsin will be delayed, if Japan has its way.

Japanese officials attending this week's summit are blunt about future aid to Russia. It will all depend on Mr Yeltsin. He is due in Tokyo in September. Japanese officials describe it as a crucial visit, with its centrepiece the unresolved islands question and the unsigned peace treaty between the two countries. The absence of an invitation this week, Japan hopes, will force Mr Yeltsin to capitulate by September.

Russia's refusal to hand the islands back has also sunk its chances of expanding the G7 to a Group of Eight. Most members - Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Germany and the United States - are sensitive to Japan's concerns. But beyond that, Russia has a long way to go before it achieves the status of a free-market democracy.

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
tv
Voices
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Manager - £50,000

£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

BI Project Manager - £48,000 - £54,000 - Midlands

£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...

VB.Net Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn