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Japan says disputed islands illegally occupied by Russia

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By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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Russia knows that if Japan had the Islands, the USA would put their bases there against Russia.

32 ( +46 / -14 )

China:

"China once supported the Soviet Union's claim over the islands in the 1950s, however, after the Sino-Soviet split in the 1960s, China then turned to support Japanese sovereignty of the islands. After the Sino-Soviet border conflict in 1969, maps published in China began to mark the islands as Japanese territory with a note "Occupied by Russia".

South Korea:

The South Korean government is in a "non-intervention" position in the Russia–Japan conflict.

22 ( +29 / -7 )

ebisenToday  0s, 6:59 am JST

Atarimae! Obviously, that were taken through force in a war Japan started, not according to some law of Japan. Don't like losing territories? Don't start wars! Simple as that.

Your understanding of the situation is what's simple.

The 4 islands in question have nothing to do with "starting wars". They became Japanese territory through the negotiated Treaty of Shimoda between Russia and Japan. Under the WWII Allied Cairo and Potsdam Declarations, Japan when defeated was to lose territories it had taken through "war and greed". Hence these islands were exempt. Yet, after Japan declared surrender, the USSR invaded the entire Kurile Chain with the intent to invade Hokkaido. The US presence on the Japanese mainland stopped that.

The USSR occupied the 4 islands, rounding up Japanese civilians who had lived there for generations and deported them. Under the 1951 San Franciso Peace Treaty, Japan gave up sovereignty to the Kuriles. But the USSR did not attend, much less sign the Treaty. For that reason hte United States, United Kingdom and the European Parliament consider these 4 islands to be Japanese territory under Russian occupation.

This is all part of the massive Soviet land grab at the very end of WWII. While the Eastern European countries have freed themselves of Soviet/Russian control in the 1990s, they are all today watching in fear as Russia attempts to retakes Ukraine.

Russia has lead Japan on a leash using the hope for a return of the islands and a Peace Treaty with Russia as bait for the last 8 decades. It took Russia's invasion of Ukraine to wake Japan up to just who they are dealing with.

19 ( +46 / -27 )

OssanAmerica: An excellent review of the situation. Thank you.

11 ( +23 / -12 )

gintonicToday  09:35 am JST

The 4 islands in question have nothing to do with "starting wars"

Au contraire - peasant logic says if Japan didnt start the Pacific war it would not have been in a position to lose them to the Soviets. Simples.

IF this IF that. If the USSR hadn't unilaterally broken it's Non-Aggression Pact with Japan the islands would not have been taken. If the US and UK hadn't pushed Stalin to attack Japan, they would not have been taken. Under the Allies own declarations, that only territories "taken by war or greed" were to be taken away from Japan, and that Allied nations were not to take more territory that was taken from them, the USSR literally "stole" these 4 islands. And the West sees it that way.

11 ( +23 / -12 )

Desert TortoiseToday  09:09 am JST

Japan surrendered the Kurile Islands in the San Francisco treaty. They are legitimately Russian territory now. Japan has no legal claim to any of them.

Total nonsense. The United States, United Kingdom and the EU consider the 4 islands to be Japanese territory under Russian Occupation. Japan did not surrender sovereignty of the islands to the USSR(Russia) who neither attended nor signed the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty. No country other than Russia considers their occupation "legitimate" which Russia enacted through domestic legislation. Japan most certainly has a legal claim and despite having wasted decades being lead on by negotiations with Russia, they have never given up the claim. Japan should take Russia to the ICJ, as Russia is a party to the Court. However, Ukraine has talken Russia to the ICJ and hte Court has ruled that Russia must stop it's invasion. A ruling with which Russia has refused to comply. Similarly, an ICJ ruling in Japan's favor may also go nowhere.

11 ( +22 / -11 )

It is possible that Russia as we know it could collapse and would, of course, pick itself back up again but in the decades that it would take to do so Japan could seize those islands.

10 ( +17 / -7 )

Putin has set us all a shining new standard world order, to grab lands when you see an opportunity. No more Mr Nice Man. Back to Barbaria!

A very unstable future awaits us all.

10 ( +15 / -5 )

Russia knows that if Japan had the Islands, the USA would put their bases there against Russia.

USA specifically ruled out the possibility of guaranteeing they wouldn't put bases there in the event of any Russian territorial concessions. Basically guaranteeing no territorial concessions from Russia at the expense of Japan.

9 ( +21 / -12 )

If ever in an unimaginable instant that Government took the unthinkable step in forcibly restoring the Northen Territories to there rightful homeland don't foolish believe one moment that Japan military wont move heaven and earth to expel the Russian occupiers.

I remember my J Grandmother referring to the kōgun dispensing levels of brutality against the enemy unparalleled in war/battlefield. Japanese soldiers were ordered to fight to the death, surrender to the enemy meant dishonour the army and parents.

Modern day Japan is a haven of peace, not to taken advantage of.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

Kuril Islands dispute between Russia and Japan

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-pacific-11664434

Japan was forced to renounce all claim to the Islands....

That doesn't negate the fact….

In 1855, Russia and Japan signed the Treaty of Shimoda, which gave Japan ownership of the four southern islands and Russia ownership of everything to the north.

I submit the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty signed between US and Japan should be tested at the ICJ, Russian never signed the treaty.   

The rub is Russian Government have little or no respect for international law.

The Putin regime have committed heinous war crimes in Ukraine. genocide, revelling in the murder of innocent families’ men women children tortured before execution.

It is fortunate that the 17,000 Japanese residents were deported and not slaughtered.

Don’t believe for a moment the Island chain is Russian territory, it never was or will be.

The Russians are illegal squatters. No more no less

8 ( +18 / -10 )

Japan should commence ‘special military operations’ to liberate the islands from the Russian Nazis

You must not be living here and could care less about the lives of Japanese people.

7 ( +17 / -10 )

I still think its funny how humans fight over dirt.

7 ( +15 / -8 )

The Russians have their eyes on the ex Soviet territory which is now the country of Moldova I read.

Beware of Putin and his plans.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

Are there Japanese people who were born there? Yes. Are their houses and villages still there? Yes. Are their graveyards still there? Yes. Was the population forcibly moved off those islands? Yes.

Home is where the heart is. Merely a piece of dirt to others, maybe.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

I don’t think Japan is going to get much traction with this one.

6 ( +20 / -14 )

Of course they are Japanese and currently occupied by Russia. They have to be given back without any discussion needed. After that, there is the time for negotiations, about the rest of Kuril Islands up to Kamchatka plus Sakhalin/Kurafuto Southern part, as a package and to be fairly and interest driven distributed. That’s even independent or parallel to any formal peace treaty negotiations or signing. Buy yourself a good atlas or world map and you’ll see that clearly, weather a new atlas from the bookstore shelves or an old school atlas from during Iron curtain times and even USSR influenced, all show that geographical situation clearly and equally.

5 ( +16 / -11 )

In actual fact those islands were illegally taken from the first nations native and aboriginal people and they were refused to make legal claims their ancestral lands.

Don't start the discussion which would cover more than 1/3 of the continent on the planet

4 ( +9 / -5 )

The USSR declared war on Japan the day after the non aggression treaty expired. The Soviets honored the treaty.

Completely wrong. Expiry date was 1946Apr25 which was confirmed by USSR Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov at the meeting between him and Naotake Sato Japan's ambassador

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Seems like Japan just trying to piggyback on the Russophobic sentiments going on worldwide.

Which...isn't a bad tactic, objectively speaking. I don't think it will actually work, because there's really no standing there and no military backing behind the gesture. Japan surrendered these islands and lost any legitimate claim they had to them already. Maybe they hope they can leverage some kind of international pressure, but I really do doubt it.

2 ( +12 / -10 )

Japan surrendered the Kurile Islands in the San Francisco treaty. They are legitimately Russian territory now. Japan has no legal claim to any of them.

But I understand that Japan's position is that the four islands under dispute are not part of the Kurile Islands. I also understand that the US shares that point of view.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

This issue will not be resolved any time soon. Posturing continues on both sides, with both sides claiming they are in the right.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Would they sacrifice their soldiers to take these islands?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

vic.MToday  07:14 am JST

Russia knows that if Japan had the Islands, the USA would put their bases there against Russia

Actually, that is an interesting idea. Since almost everyone but Russia considers the islands to be legally Japanese, moving a US defensive perimeter onto the islands, with Japan’s permission, would be perfectly legal.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I think that the islands are likely to come back to Japan rather peacefully. We better start discussing viable integration plans for the post-occupation/returning of the islands.

So long as its sovereign and safety are ensured, I think that a high degree of autonomy (such as bilingual public services) would be possible in the consent of local Russian residents. Set any time table for a transition period (20-30 years).

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@Kyo

The peace treaty wasn't signed and Japan has imposed sanctions and stopped trade and seized assets.

So yes technically Japan and Russia are at war.

The Soviet union doesn't exist anymore in case you haven't noticed.

Then there was no war between Japan and current Russia yes?

1956 jointly declared the end of war between two although Japan never started that war against USSR which unilaterally trashed a Int'l treaty and invaded Japanese soil. Yes USSR noticed Japan in time that it wouldn't renew the non-aggression pact but the minister of Foreign Affairs confirmed the expiry date of on-going term of the treaty was to be respected which was 1946 4/25.

Official Peace treaty was for all the post-war settlements including Northern territories.

Having said that, Yeah, Int'l agreements(whether those being treaty, declaration, agreement et al ) means nothing to Russia (Soviet) as they think rules do exist for themselves.

As long as this monster Putin rules the nation, there's NO peace against Russia, so forget peace treaty, forget Northern territories for now. Never be fooled again.

Russia is always technically at war against any other sovereign nations. Fixed that for you.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

1956 jointly declared the end of war between two although Japan never started that war against USSR which unilaterally trashed a Int'l treaty and invaded Japanese soil. Yes USSR noticed Japan in time that it wouldn't renew the non-aggression pact but the minister of Foreign Affairs confirmed the expiry date of on-going term of the treaty was to be respected which was 1946 4/25.

Trusting this Molotov's confirmation, Japan still asked USSR to intermediate to end the Pacific War against the US. And USSR knowing Japan wanting to stop the war, advanced their troops to the east seeking the northern half of Japan's big 4 islands which was slightly above the line over Kanto region. Yeah, how peace-boke then-Japanese govt. officials were...

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Sadly for Japan, none of Japan's neighbors recognize Japanese claims on Southern Kurils.

0 ( +33 / -33 )

Looks like Japan has a lot of disputed territories

0 ( +25 / -25 )

The problem with 'legality' is that it is very much like 'beauty' and 'morality' and exists almost entirely in the eye of the beholder. And, if 'legality' really meant anything in the Human World and were not just a way to justify the exercise of power by those who make the law, how different so much of our World would be. And, as the old legal saw says, 'possession', of course, is nine-tenths of the law. By that measure, Nihon has a 10% claim...

0 ( +14 / -14 )

Yes, Kyo wa heiwa dayo ne my generalisation, in reality a Kochi personal haven of peace.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Kyo wa heiwa dayo neToday  01:56 pm JST

Technically Japan and Russia are at war.

1956 Japan‐Soviet Joint Declaration

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Russia is busy with their war of aggression in Ukraine. This is the time for Japan, Chechnya, Syria, Georgia, and others to take back the land stolen by Russia.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

I saw the defeat of Russia from the Ukraine war, Russia is like China before. Ukraine recaptured a large amount of land. And the United States has shipped offensive weapons to Ukraine. Russian military operations have failed. I think Japan can easily retake Japan's lost territory if it can get help or build a strong army. Because Russia does not have a strong economic capacity to build a navy, and the United States will not let any country use nuclear bombs.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Atarimae! Obviously, that were taken through force in a war Japan started, not according to some law of Japan. Don't like losing territories? Don't start wars! Simple as that.

-2 ( +40 / -42 )

Then try and take them away from them.

-2 ( +11 / -13 )

Japanese narrative is same and way of thinking seems unchanged.

Like they live in past,saying wants have good relationship with neigbours/Korea,China/ but without solving their issues with them from past going and bringing flowers to yasukuni and repeating own narrative about Kurils for forever....sometimes have to feel that they lives in own virtual reality?

Well said. My family fought in that war. We suffered on account of it. Japan lost. This is what happens when you wage unprovoked war on your neighbors. Those island are no longer Japans. Too bad. Deal with it. As much as I detest Russia the more whining I hear from Japanese about those islands the harder my point of view is on the matter.

-2 ( +11 / -13 )

In its 1951 San Francisco peace treaty with the United States and other Allied powers Japan renounced “all right, claim and title to the Kuril islands.”

Maps have always shown the four islands of Kunashiri, Etorofu, Shikotan and Habomai as part of the Kurils. Immediately after the San Francisco treaty signing, the head of the Foreign Ministry’s Treaties Bureau, Kumao Nishimura, when asked in a Diet committee if Etorofu and Kunashiri were included in the Kuril Islands over which Japan had renounced sovereignty, said both the northern and southern Kurils were included.

To quote Gregory Clark, since then, Japan has 'embarked on a foolish effort to insist they (the four disputed islands) were not part of the Kurils that it had renounced at San Francisco; that they were part of a separate entity which it dubbed the “Northern Territories.”' The Foreign Ministry now says Nishimura made a mistake, despite the fact that in his memoirs written years later, the prime minister at the time, Shigeru Yoshida, admits how reluctant he was to have signed away the southern Kurils (Minami Chishima in Japanese).

Japan has very little basis for its claim. The only thing they can hope for is that Russia continues to promise the return of Habomai and Shikotan AFTER a peace treaty is signed. Anything else is sheer fantasy.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Japan says disputed islands illegally occupied by Russia:

“We have sovereignty over the Kuril islands", Japan declares.

"They have been under our control and care after WWII, indisputable", Russia claims.

The bottom line is whoever the more powerful would take charge.  So..?

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

My wife succinctly put it when she said “who wants to live in the cold arse end of Japan!”

And she is Japanese…

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

MichaelMachinda

If you think its funny all the loss of lives and destruction over dirt then obviously your a very insincere person who doesn't appreciate how precious lives are.

Personally i don't find it even remotely amusing .

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

For god's sake, get over it. Cry me a river. You want them, go get them then. I'd say the Ainu have more claim to them than Japan, but the Ainu have practically been wiped off the planet thanks to genocidal policies in Japan.

-5 ( +13 / -18 )

This opportunity for big brother to fuel oil to the situation and sold their weapons.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Oh get a grip Japan. You're never getting them back.

-6 ( +19 / -25 )

Technically Japan and Russia are at war.

And so are the Korea's

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

Say what you want about the US. If it wasn’t for the US after WW2 Japan would have become a Russian puppet state.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Technically Japan and Russia are at war.

well, we are providing materials to have their military killed, supporting sanctions to collectively punish ordinary citizens, cats, dogs and trees, attacking them both economically and technology and even Sports. Music, Art.

so yes, Japan is still at war with Russia. Russia has done nothing wrong to us except boost our economy with resources, fisheries and agriculture. But Japan…

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

 Yet, after Japan declared surrender, the USSR invaded the entire Kurile Chain with the intent to invade Hokkaido. The US presence on the Japanese mainland stopped that.

Sigh. The US gave the Soviets landing craft specifically to use to take the Kurile Islands from Japan. The Soviet Navy didn't operate landing craft so the US gave them the means to take those islands. The Soviets began the operation to take the Kuriles on 18 August 1945. Japan did not surrender until 2 September 1945 though Hirohito had announced the intention to surrender on 15 August. Keep in mind that on 15 August there was a coup attempt by the IJA and its supporters who opposed surrender led by Major Kenji Hatanaka. Hostilities continued in multiple theaters until 2 September and even then the Allies were unsure the Japanese would really lay down their arms. The reason there were no aircraft carriers in Tokyo Bay that day was they were on alert in the Pacific in case Japan tried to attack the Allied ships in Tokyo Bay. The distrust was very deep.

Japan surrendered the Kurile Islands in the San Francisco treaty. They are legitimately Russian territory now. Japan has no legal claim to any of them.

-7 ( +17 / -24 )

I think the Chinese govt. is very about there is no peace treaty between Russia & Japan. So bring it on.....

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

its 2022.

Japan still did not realized that they have lost in WW2.

As consequence of that they have lost south part of Sakhalin penninsula and Kuril islands.

I believe that no one is going to dispute results of WW2?

I feel dont need to say more than.Case is closed.For good.Navsegda.

Japanese narrative is same and way of thinking seems unchanged.

Like they live in past,saying wants have good relationship with neigbours/Korea,China/ but without solving their issues with them from past going and bringing flowers to yasukuni and repeating own narrative about Kurils for forever....sometimes have to feel that they lives in own virtual reality?

-7 ( +13 / -20 )

I love you Japan, but sometimes you do stupid things like that..

Keep being the lapdog of the US, doing all the monkey business to please the tantrums of the sore loser US and you will see that Russia will not give you back your northern territories..

Bye, bye Kuril islands..

I still think its funny how humans fight over dirt.

If a neighbor of yours took over even one square inch of your front yard, you'd be like a teenager yelling, "give me back my dirt!!"..

Lol !!..

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

How about to be thankful that they only reclaimed a few islands and didn’t take Hokkaido, not the whole Okinawa like America did?

-7 ( +9 / -16 )

It is possible that Russia as we know it could collapse and would, of course, pick itself back up again but in the decades that it would take to do so Japan could seize those islands

Japan doesn't begin to have enough amphibious lift capability to take those islands. The Russians have around 4000 - 5000 troops guarding the Kuriles with land based air defense and anti-ship missiles emplaced. Japan has a grand total of three tank landing ships each of which can carry 300 soldiers, their vehicles and a few helicopters. Japan has no long range air to surface or surface to surface missiles with which to bombard the islands defenses before an assault. The whole idea is an ill informed fanboi fantasy.

-8 ( +11 / -19 )

In actual fact those islands were illegally taken from the first nations native and aboriginal people and they were refused to make legal claims their ancestral lands.

Taken by force by Japan.

Then after Japan surrendered at the defeat of ww2 the soviet union acquired those islands.

The Soviets plan was to take approximately half of Japan but the western alliance stepped in.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

F this IF that. If the USSR hadn't unilaterally broken it's Non-Aggression Pact with Japan the islands would not have been taken.

The USSR declared war on Japan the day after the non aggression treaty expired. The Soviets honored the treaty.

-8 ( +7 / -15 )

KennyG

The peace treaty wasn't signed and Japan has imposed sanctions and stopped trade and seized assets.

So yes technically Japan and Russia are at war.

The Soviet union doesn't exist anymore in case you haven't noticed.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Obviously Russian territory, get over it.

-9 ( +17 / -26 )

The combined might of the Allies would blow Moscow into smithereens. Pesky Putin would do very well to remember that.

-10 ( +21 / -31 )

Desert T - interesting info, thanks for clarifying the events.

Sigh. The US gave the Soviets landing craft specifically to use to take the Kurile Islands from Japan. The Soviet Navy didn't operate landing craft so the US gave them the means to take those islands. The Soviets began the operation to take the Kuriles on 18 August 1945. Japan did not surrender until 2 September 1945 though Hirohito had announced the intention to surrender on 15 August. Keep in mind that on 15 August there was a coup attempt by the IJA and its supporters who opposed surrender led by Major Kenji Hatanaka. Hostilities continued in multiple theaters until 2 September ....Japan surrendered the Kurile Islands in the San Francisco treaty. They are legitimately Russian territory now. Japan has no legal claim to any of them.

Obviously, that were taken through force in a war Japan started, not according to some law of Japan. Don't like losing territories? Don't start wars! Simple as that.

Yep.

The 4 islands in question have nothing to do with "starting wars"

Au contraire - peasant logic says if Japan didnt start the Pacific war it would not have been in a position to lose them to the Soviets. Simples.

-10 ( +11 / -21 )

China, North Korea, Russia and their air/maritime incursions and missiles toward Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

Who else thinks communism is nothing but a plague, a global threatening disease?

*apologies to the keyboard socialists living in Japan

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

My wife succinctly put it when she said “who wants to live in the cold arse end of Japan!”

And she is Japanese…

Not surprising at all. There' re many Japanese who damn hate Japan. And yet many of them wish to return

just before they die overseas. She could cease to be Japanese and become your home country's citizen easy ey?

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

Au contraire - peasant logic says if Japan didnt start the Pacific war it would not have been in a position to lose them to the Soviets. Simples.

IF this IF that. If the USSR hadn't unilaterally broken it's Non-Aggression Pact with Japan the islands would not have been taken. If the US and UK hadn't pushed Stalin to attack Japan, they would not have been taken

That's very cute but of course you continuen to neglect the biggest elephant IF in the room which as stated above is... IF Japan didn't start and then loose the war..... anyway, right-wing can argue and jump up and down as much as it wants but Putin / Russia giving them back is just a fantasy, especially now with Japan's current anti Russia rhetoric

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

Japan should commence ‘special military operations’ to liberate the islands from the Russian Nazis

-11 ( +30 / -41 )

Instead of claiming islands that were lost during WWII, Japanese government should take better care of Hokkaido, according Japanese government data CCP has already bought more than 10% of Hokkaido's land.

I am 100% sure Russia will take care of them better than Japan.

-11 ( +6 / -17 )

Simian LaneToday  07:15 am JST

The combined might of the Allies would blow Moscow into smithereens. Pesky Putin would do very well to remember that.

You refer to NATO?

Well you are not part of our alliance,so we’re not forced to do your dirt job.

Furthermore the old right wingers at the helm of this very conservative country are showing their true face now that Russia is occupied on the other front.

Same sneaky tactic like Pear Harbour?

-12 ( +14 / -26 )

Japan has absolutely no defense against hypersonic missiles, thus the islands belong to Russia and no amount of pronouncements or posturing by Japan will change that for the foreseeable future.

-15 ( +12 / -27 )

Itsonlyrocknroll

By the way -

A haven of peace is where all international people are welcome with equal rights for all and a humane justice system.

Japan hasn't accomplished that yet .

-15 ( +4 / -19 )

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