Japanese resume territorial claim on Kuril Islands – Russia responds


February 10 , 2018 – FRN – 

Rusvesna – translated by Inessa Sinchougova

The Russian army has responded to the “impudent Japanese statements” that the Southern Kurils belong to the “Samurais”.

The third round of negotiations on Joint Economic Activities between Russia and Japan on the Kuril Islands began on February 6th, in the Japanese capital.

However, “The National Day of Northern Territories” is celebrated annually on February 7. Along the streets of Tokyo and other cities, cars with loudspeakers parade through, playing military marches and reading out demands to return the “four islands of the former samurais.

On Wednesday 7th, the Foreign Minister of Japan Taro Kono said that Japan insists that the Southern Kurils are primordial Japanese territories. The Minister appealed to the nationalists during his speech.

“The Northern Territories are the historical territories of our country,” the head of Japanese diplomacy announced.

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While the Japanese government is engaged in propaganda and agitation related to unreasonable territorial claims, a large flag of the Russian Federation was hoisted in the south of Kunashir Island with the beginning of Russia’s military exercises there.

Russian Spetsnaz units (special forces) made it clear that the islands will be protected from a potential aggressor.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan has protested the beginning of Russia’s military training exercises in the region, saying that military maneuvers are contrary to Tokyo’s position on the islands.

“The Northern Territories” refer to the territorial dispute between Tokyo and Moscow, the Southern Kuril islands. After the defeat of Japan in WWII, the Kuril Islands were included in the make up of the Soviet Union. 

The islands of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and the Habomai are contested by the Japanese, who consider them illegally occupied. The area of ​​​​the disputed territory, including the 200-mile economic zone, is approximately 200,000 km².

The population of Japan is 127 million people – which is almost 90% of Russia’s entire population – on a landmass around the size of Germany. 

Russia’s population of the Kuril Islands is barely 20,000 people – plus a nearby population of half a million in the Sakhalin. Given there is room and many unexplored opportunities for business – Japan has been gradually investing into the Kuril Islands infrastructure and relocating some of its citizens there (mostly legally). 

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