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Japan and Russia Move Closer to Sign Peace Treaty

TOKYO, Japan – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to intensify talks with Russia to conclude a Soviet peace declaration after 1956, Indrastra reported Wednesday.
Earlier in November 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his point of view at a press conference in Singapore – the day after his meeting with Prime Minister Abe on the sidelines of the 33rd summit of the Association of African Nations. South East Asia (ASEAN) and had decided to speed up the negotiations, but his comments did not mention any basis for the return of Shikotan and Habomai, nor does it specify which country has sovereignty over the islands. His comments imply that it is not certain that Moscow intends to return even the two small islands to Japanese rule, which represents only 7% of the total of the four islands.
“While we are at a major turning point, we will resolutely pursue the resolution of Japan’s diplomatic problems after the war,” Abe said in a New Year’s statement on Radio Nippon radio, citing negotiations for the peace treaty with Japan. Russia – the two countries are still technically at war, because of the ongoing territorial dispute rendering an agreement impossible. Putin is firmly willing to sign a peace treaty, said Abe.
But Putin insists that no US military authorized to use the islands in the near future after the handover of power could create a “gap” between Japan and the United States.
His intention was communicated to the Japanese authorities by Nikolai Patrushev, Putin’s assistant and secretary of the country’s Security Council, during his visit to Japan in early October. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu also made a similar request to Katsutoshi Kawano when the chief Japanese Self-Defense Force (JSDF) leader visited Russia in October, Japanese government officials said.
The four islands – which Russia calls the South Kuril Islands and Japan the Northern Territories – extend north across the Pacific Ocean, from the Japanese island of Hokkaido to the southern tip of the southern peninsula, Kamchatka, Russia. The Soviet Union seized territories at the end of the Second World War, expelling the 17,000 Japanese residents. However, in accordance with article 9 of the declaration, the Soviet Union agreed to hand over Shikotan and Habomai as a sign of goodwill after the signing of the peace treaty. The declaration was ratified by the parliaments of both countries in December 1956. However, in reaction to Japan’s signing of a security treaty with the United States in 1960, the Soviet Union lifted its responsibility for concerns the transfer of islands. The Soviet government then declared that the islands would be delivered to Japan only when all foreign forces were withdrawn from its territory.
According to the latest media reports, Abe is expected to visit Moscow on January 21, 2019 to talk to Putin in view of concluding the treaty as soon as possible. However, if Japan continues to claim two more islands – Kunashir (known in Japanese Kunashiri) and Iturup (Etorofu) – which constitute most of the disputed territory, future progress in this area could stop.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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