Russia-Japan Mending Ties to Resolve South Kuril Islands Dispute

Kuril Island is a long-standing, historical dispute between Japan and Russia, but Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said that there are no obstructions in talks with Russia on joint economic activities on the South Kuril Islands.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that revisions to Japan’s Act on Special Measures regarding Advancement of Resolution of Northern Territories Issues passed by the country’s parliament would block talks on the two countries’ joint economic activities in the region.

“The signed bill directly links joint economic activities to the far-fetched idea about the South Kuril Islands belonging to Japan and places them on par with examples ‘aimed at warranting a quick return of the Northern Territories’,” the statement reads.

“We consider this to be nothing but an attempt to prejudge the outcome of talks on the matter and push unacceptable options for resolving the peace treaty issue,” the Russian Foreign Ministry added.

South Kuril Islands Dispute

Since the mid-20th century, Russia and Japan have been conducting negotiations in order to secure a peace agreement as a follow-up to World War II. The Kuril Islands dispute remains the point of concern between Japan and Russia since after WWII the islands were handed over to the USSR while Japan claimed the four southern islands.

In 1956, Japan and Russia signed a common declaration on ending the state of war and restoring diplomatic relations, however, a peace treaty has still not been signed. Russia has stated many times that nations sovereignty over the islands cannot be questioned.

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