Discord among Russia-Japan over disputed Kuril Islands heighten
Russia summoned Japan envoy over Japanese prime minister's comments on disputed island row.
Iran Press/Europe: Russia summoned Japan's ambassador in Moscow on Wednesday to complain about comments of Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe on the bid to resolve a decades-old dispute with Moscow over a disputed Kuril Island, the Russian foreign ministry said.
Abe is making a push towards a treaty with Russia over the islands and is due to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin this month, but Moscow has shown no willingness to concede control over the islands, Iran Press reported.
Russia and Japan have been in dispute for seven decades over island territories captured by Soviet troops in the last days of World War Two. They are known in Russia as the Southern Kuriles and in Japan as the Northern Territories.
Russia’s foreign ministry issued a statement late on Wednesday that it summoned Japan’s ambassador to complain about comments made by Tokyo that it said: “crudely distort the essence of agreements between Russia and Japan’s leaders on accelerating the negotiation process.”
“Such statements cannot be regarded except as an attempt to artificially aggravate the atmosphere around the problem of the peace treaty, to impose one’s own scenario for its resolution on the other side,” the statement said.
Russia’s foreign ministry drew attention late on Wednesday to comments made by Japan about the need to reach an understanding with Russians living on the islands about their transfer to Japanese control.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Thursday that Tokyo had already conveyed its stance to Moscow, but declined to comment on details.
“We continue to work persistently based on our basic policy that we aim to resolve the issue of the islands and have a peace treaty,” Suga said.
The Kuril Islands dispute, also known as the Northern Territories dispute, is a disagreement between Japan and Russia and also some individuals of the Ainu people over sovereignty of the South Kuril Islands, which stretch between northern Hokkaido and southern Kamchatka, in the Sea of Okhotsk.
These islands, like other islands in the Kuril chain that are not in dispute, were annexed by the Soviet Union in aftermath of the Kuril Islands landing operation at the end of World War II.
The disputed islands are under Russian administration as the South Kuril District of the Sakhalin Oblast. They are claimed by Japan, which refers to them as its Northern Territories or Southern Chishima, and considers them part of the Nemuro Subprefecture of Hokkaido Prefecture.
Russia and Japan have not signed a peace treaty since World War II because of dispute about Pacific islands.
The 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty signed between the Allies and Japan, states that Japan must give up all right, title and claim to the Kuril Islands.