The Kurile Islands for a chain north of Japan’s northernmost island Hokkaido. The population is around 25,000. The Kurile Islands are part of Russia since the Second World War. Japan claims to have historic rights to the southern Kurile Islands.

The Nikkei business daily recently reported that Japan was considering joint administration of the islands. It quoted unidentified Japanese and Russian government sources. Reuters on October 16, 2016, reported that Japan denies discussing joint administration. Excerpts below:

“We deny the Nikkei report that Japan and Russia are discussing the joint administration of the Northern Territories,” Japanese foreign ministry spokesman Yasuhira Kawamura told Reuters in an email, referring to the islands off Hokkaido known in Russia as the Southern Kuriles.

“There is no change in Japan’s fundamental position that Japan will conclude the peace treaty with Russia by resolving the issue of the possession of the four northern islands.”

Japan has long demanded that the sovereignty of all the territories be resolved before a peace treaty is signed, but some politicians and experts have said Abe may alter course.

Last month, Abe told parliament: “I will resolve the territorial issue, end the abnormal situation in which no peace treaty has been concluded even 71 years after the war, and cultivate the major possibility of Japan-Russia cooperation in areas such as the economy and energy.”

Comment: Varldsinbordeskriget believes it is important that Western nations (United States, Great Britain and Australia) support Japan’s claims in this ongoing dispute between Russia and Japan.

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