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Japan Seeking to Reach Peace Treaty With Russia on South Kurils: Prime Minister

© Sputnik / Sergei Krivosheyev / Go to the mediabankSouth Kurils
South Kurils  - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.02.2023
TOKYO (Sputnik) - The Japanese government regards the situation with Moscow and Tokyo not signing the peace agreement on the South Kuril Islands as regrettable, and Japan is committed to the resolution of territorial issues and concluding a peace treaty, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Tuesday.
"The fact that 77 years after the end of the war, the issue of the Northern Territories has not been resolved and there is no peace treaty between Japan and Russia is extremely regrettable ... The Japanese government is committed to resolving the territorial issue and concluding a peace treaty," Kishida said.
However, the minister added that Japan would proceed from its national interests on the issues related to economic activities with Russia, such as fishing or shipping.
On Tuesday, Japan celebrates the day of the Northern Territories, which include the southern islands of the Kuril chain, now owned by Russia. It is celebrated annually on February 7, on the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Shimoda of 1855 with Russia, according to which Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan, and Habomai were ceded to Tokyo.
In 1956, the Soviet Union and Japan signed a joint declaration in which Moscow agreed to consider the possibility of transferring the Habomai and Shikotan islands to Japan after the conclusion of a peace treaty. The fate of Kunashir and Iturup was not addressed in the document. The Soviet Union hoped the Joint Declaration would put an end to the dispute, while Japan considered it only as part of the solution to the problem, and did not renounce its claims to all four islands.
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In 2018, Japan and Russia agreed to speed up negotiations on the peace treaty on the basis of the 1956 Japanese-Soviet Joint Declaration. However, in March 2022, Moscow 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 Ukraine conflict, Moscow said.
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