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Russia Unwilling to Hold Talks With Tokyo on Fishing Near Kuril Islands

© Sputnik / Nadezhda LiksakovaCape Tigrovy and Novokurilskaya Bay of Urup Island (island of the southern group of the Great Kuril Islands).
Cape Tigrovy and Novokurilskaya Bay of Urup Island (island of the southern group of the Great Kuril Islands). - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.01.2023
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Moscow has informed Tokyo that, due to anti-Russian measures taken by the Japanese government, Russia cannot agree on the holding of intergovernmental consultations on marine fishing cooperation in the area of the southern Kuril Islands, the Russian Foreign Ministry told Sputnik.
"In the context of the anti-Russian measures taken by the Japanese government, which obviously run counter to the spirit and letter of the 1998 agreement on strengthening and developing good neighborliness, the Russian side has informed Tokyo that it could not agree on holding intergovernmental consultations on the implementation of this agreement," the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry pointed out that relations between Russia and Japan have been deteriorating since the start of the special military operation in Ukraine and that the Japanese government has been introducing sanctions against Russia in violation of international law.
"To return to a normal dialogue, our Japanese neighbors should demonstrate basic respect for our country, a desire to straighten out bilateral relations," the ministry said, adding that this is something that has not been observed yet.
Last week, the Japanese Embassy in Moscow told Sputnik that Japan continued to insist on holding talks with Russia on allowing Japanese boats to fish off the Kuril Islands after receiving a notification that Moscow cannot set the dates for consultations on the relevant agreement suspended by the Russian authorities in 2022.
Moscow suspended the 1998 agreement on fishing with Tokyo in June 2022, after Japan stopped fulfilling its financial obligations under the deal. The Japanese government said it regretted Russia's decision and would like to continue consultations.
Russia and Japan have been locked in a dispute over the four southernmost Kuril Islands (Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan, and Habomai) since the two countries never signed a permanent peace treaty following World War II. Japan has refused to give up its sovereignty claims to the four islands, which it refers to as its Northern Territories. Moscow and Tokyo have tried to negotiate separate aspects of their disagreements, but never signed a full post-war peace treaty.
In March, Russia withdrew from talks with Japan on signing a post-World War II peace treaty, and halted visa-free travel for Japanese citizens to the southern Kuril Islands and joint economic activities on the disputed islands. The move was due to Tokyo's "unfriendly" steps over the Ukrainian conflict, Moscow said.
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