Fishing ships near Kuril Islands.Sergei Krivosheyev/RIA Novosti
The Japanese Defense Ministry says that that the zone of activity of the Russian armed forces is increasing, including in the area of the Southern Kurils. This opinion is stated in the ministry’s annual report (White Paper) published on August 2.
Russia, in spite of its difficult economic situation, continues to expand the area of its armed forces’ activity, the document says. The Russian military are still present in the "Northern Territories" (Japan’s name for Russia’s Southern Kuril Islands), and their activity is intensifying, the report says.
On the situation in Ukraine, the report says that "the results of changing the status quo are taking root." The report authors also state "the lack of progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements and the conflict’s dragging out." In addition, the Japanese Defense Ministry expressed concern over the growing threat, allegedly associated with Russia actions, including in Europe.
Russia and Japan have no peace treaty signed after World War II. Settlement of the problem inherited by Russia’s diplomacy from the Soviet Union is hampered by the years-long dispute over the four islands of Russia’s Southern Kurils - Shikotan, Khabomai, Iturup and Kunashir, which Japan calls its Northern Territories.
After World War II, in September 1945, Japan signed the capitulation, and in February 1946, the Kuril Islands were declared territories of the Soviet Union. In 1956, a joint declaration was signed ending the state of war between the USSR and Japan, but no peace treaty was signed.
During the Cold War, Moscow did not recognize the territorial problem, but in October 1993, when Russian president Boris Yeltsin was on an official visit in Japan, the existence of the problem was confirmed officially. However, the two countries have reached no compromise over the disputed islands yet.
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