Japan Renews Claims on Southern Kuril Against Russia

The government of Japan has renewed its claims in a territorial dispute with Russia over the Pacific archipelago of the Southern Kuril Islands.

“The Northern Territories are a territory that belongs to Japan, a territory over which Japan has sovereignty,” the Japanese Prime Minister said.

Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi also described the four islands as an “integral part” of Japan.

According to observers, Kishida’s return to the old language signaled an end to hopes that Japan and Russian President Vladimir Putin could reach an agreement.

Japan lost the islands to the Soviet Union after its surrender in World War II. 

Russia then annexed and administered the Kuril islands, between Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula and Japan’s northern main island of Hokkaido, separating the Okhotsk Sea from the Pacific ocean.

Proposals for Russia to return initially two of the four disputed islands as a kind of interim solution had been rejected.

The dispute has continued to prevent the conclusion of a peace treaty between the two countries.

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