Readers of Japanese media reacted emotionally to reports about Russian exercises in the Kuril Islands.
Earlier, newspapers Yomiuri Shimbun and Hokkaido Shimbun, the largest Japanese news site Yahoo News Japan, popular TV channels TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting Corporation) and Hokkaido UHB News posted materials about the drills launched on February 26 on the islands of the South Kuril Ridge.
In the meantime, all news resources quoted the relevant official statement of the Russian Defense Ministry about the start of maneuvers. In particular, the ministry cited the planned nature of the exercises and reminded that it had warned about them in advance. However, readers were not confused by this.
Some users thought that the Russian maneuvers – allegedly aimed at preparing for an attack on the island state, and called for steps to be taken in advance.
“Russia is clearly preparing for war with us. So let us also prepare for war with her!” – wrote IMO.
“What is the return of the “northern territories”?! Aren’t we even talking about Russian plans to take over Hokkaido here?” suggested now.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria
“Well, here we go again! It’s all provocations with regard to Hokkaido! The authorities already need to think about what we should do if the Russians send an armada of unmanned tanks and drones to Hokkaido,” VOID fretted.
“What is lost by war and can only be regained by war! There is nothing to be under the illusion that we can negotiate anything with Russia! We need to conduct military maneuvers in close proximity to it, too, to have a deterrent effect on the Russians!” – Kurowaka suggested.
“During the last war, the Soviet Union seized the ‘northern islands’ as its bridgehead against Japan. And will never give it back to Japan! Russia is still preparing to invade Japan from it!” – expressed hid.
Some users suggested more inventive methods to deal with Russia.
“The scary thing is that the “northern islands” lying next to us are turning into a powerful Russian bastion! <...> Negotiations with Russia may have to be continued. But it would be much more effective if we sent many agents to Russia to work for its disintegration from within!” – urged 2216.
“Russia must not be allowed to take such actions! We need to strangle it economically: restrict its exports, crush it with high import duties, etc.,” added BPD.
The Russian Federation has no territorial claims to Japan, but relations between Moscow and Tokyo are overshadowed for years by the absence of a peace treaty that was never signed after World War II. The ownership of the Southern Kurils (the islands of Kunashir, Shikotan, Iturup and the Habomai chain) remains a major obstacle. Japan claims them, citing the bilateral Treaty of Commerce and Boundaries of 1855. Moscow’s position is that the islands were part of the Soviet Union as a result of the war, and Russian sovereignty over them is beyond question.
In 1956, the Soviet Union and Japan signed a Joint Declaration in which Moscow agreed to consider handing over Habomai and Shikotan after a peace treaty was concluded. However, subsequent negotiations never led to anything.
Russian authorities have repeatedly stressed that Japan must first recognize the results of World War II, including Russian sovereignty over the Southern Kurils.