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    Rocks off Shikotan Island, aka Spanberg or Sikotan, in the Kurils

    Most Russians Against Transferring South Kuril Islands to Japan

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    The majority of Russians are opposed to the idea of transferring the South Kuril Islands to Japan, a poll released on Friday shows.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – In total 78 percent of Russian respondents said they are against transferring the islands of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan as well as the Habomai rocks to Japan, a poll conducted by the Moscow-based non-profit Levada Center found.

    About 71 percent of respondents were also opposed to a possible compromise in the issue – transferring Shikotan and the Habomai rocks to Japan and retaining control over the larger islands of Iturup and Kunashir.

    Almost 70 percent of those polled also rejected another possible compromise that would involve recognizing Japan's claim to the islands but retaining long-term control over them.

    More than half of respondents (56 percent) said that all of the islands must remain Russian, which they ranked as more important than signing a peace treaty with Japan to gain access to Japanese technologies.

    A total of 55 percent of those polled said that Russian President Vladimir Putin's credibility would be undermined should the islands be transferred back to Japan.

    Japan and Russia never signed a permanent peace treaty after World War II because of a disagreement over the islands, which Russia calls the Southern Kurils and Japan the Northern Territories. The islands were seized by the Soviet Union during World War II but Japan refused to recognize Soviet sovereignty over them.

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    respondents, poll, Japan, Russia, Kuril Islands
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