Russia talks about conditions on rapprochement with Japan on Kuril issue

Russian Ambassador to Japan Mikhail Galuzin spoke about the conditions for rapprochement with Japan in controversial issues between the countries. His words are quoted by RIA Novosti.

Galuzin stressed that Russia considers sovereignty over the southern Kuril Islands legitimate and undeniable, while Japan has a different position. “The positions are quite different, and their rapprochement requires painstaking negotiations and the creation of a favorable atmosphere of cooperation, trust, and friendship,” the diplomat said. He added that there is no impasse in the negotiations on the peace treaty, stressing that Moscow is committed to the idea of concluding it. Earlier, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reported to parliament on the progress of joint economic activities with Russia on the Kuril Islands. He noted the implementation of the first pilot tour to the southern Kurils for tourists from Japan and the opportunity to visit previously banned places for former Japanese residents. Abe added that he would continue to negotiate hard to “solve the territorial problem.”

In 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Shinzo Abe agreed on a document on the start of consultations on joint economic activities of the two countries in the southern Kurils. Fisheries, tourism, medicine, and ecology are mentioned among the areas of cooperation. A pilot project of joint economic activity is already working on the four islands of the southern part of Kuril. The Japanese government has also launched flights for former islanders so they can visit the graves of their ancestors.

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As a result of the Second World War, there was no peace treaty between Moscow and Tokyo. The main obstacle to its signing was the unresolved territorial dispute over the southern Kuril Islands of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan, and the Habomai group. The Japanese side calls the Southern Kurils “northern territories” and does not recognize Russian sovereignty over them. Also, the Russian side does not recognize the very fact of the territorial dispute.