According to the latest survey conducted by the Japanese Newspaper Nikkei, only 29% of respondents insist on handing over all of the disputed Kuril Islands: Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai, with about 60% ready to accept only a part of the archipelago’s islets.
Until a solution to the territorial dispute is found, the public will have to understand that a more realistic approach which does not imply handing over all four islands is necassary, the report says.
Another recent survey concerning the same issue was carried out by the newspaper Mainichi at the beginning of November and showed that 57% of Japan's public are for a flexible approach in solving the territorial dispute with Russia, while 25% favored a tougher approach, claiming that all the four islands should be transferred to Japan.
Now the Japanese government is pushing to develop economic relationships with Russia in the hope that it will create conditions which will ease the signing of a peace treaty and help to tackle the territorial problem. Tokyo is looking forward to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan in December.
Japan and Russia did not sign a permanent peace treaty after World War II due to a dispute over four islands, which Russia calls the Southern Kurils and Japan – the Northern Territories that include Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai.
On October 16, 1956, Tokyo and Moscow signed the Soviet–Japanese Joint Declaration, which ended the state of war and provided for trade development, the resolution of the territorial dispute and the eventual signing of the peace treaty.
However Japan claims all four islands referring to Treaty of Commerce and Navigation between Japan and Russia which was signed in 1855.