Japanese PM promises to do everything to resolve territorial dispute with Russia

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. © David Mareuil/Pool Photo via AP. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

TOKYO, Feb 4, 2021, TASS. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has promised to exert every effort to get closer to the solution of the issue of the Northern Territories (the Southern Kuril Islands – TASS). The head of Japanese government stated this during a debate of the budgetary commission of the national parliament on Thursday, TASS reported.

“I will exert every effort in order to get closer to the solution of the issue of the Northern Territories by at least half a step,” he said in response to a corresponding question by one of the lawmakers.

The prime minister also emphasized that further talks with Russia directed at resolving the territorial issue and concluding a peace agreement will be conducted on the basis of all agreements previously reached by the two countries, including the agreements concluded in Singapore in 2018 on accelerating the pace of peace negotiations based on the 1956 Joint Declaration.

Since the middle of the last century, Moscow and Tokyo have been intermittently negotiating a peace agreement following World War II. The main obstacle to its conclusion was the question of the ownership of the southern part of the Kuril ridge. In 1945, the entire archipelago was incorporated into the Soviet Union, but the Japanese side disputes the belonging of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan, and the group of now uninhabited islands, which in Japan is called Habomai. The Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly stressed that Russian sovereignty over them, which has the appropriate international legal form, is beyond question.

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