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At this point in time, who has the best claim to the disputed four Russian-administered islands off Hokkaido?

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They're Russian islands, bottom line. Any claim to the contrary is moot. They were taken in war, and are lived on and administered by Russia.

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smithinjapan - Exactly! End of discussion. Let's move on.

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All land masses close to Hokkaido belong to Japan. Even a 10 year old knows it better. Let us continue this discussion.

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Jkanda - Exactly! Let's not end this discussion. Let's continue.

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who's more powerful militarily ? case closed .

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Possession is nine-tenths of the law?

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who's more powerful militarily ?

Ehhmm, that could be Russia. But quite irrelevant to this topic. It would be a disaster for Russia if they'd use their military to make their point. So, I don't really understand why you bring up the "military" thing.

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spoils of war, folks. Just like North Korea is.

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Jkanda: "All land masses close to Hokkaido belong to Japan."

Guess you better kiss the remote Yaeyama islands and other Okinawan islands goodbye, then -- they should officially belong to Taiwan. Quite the rationale you have for whom an island belongs to. I suppose you refuse to admit the Falklands are British? Reunion doesn't belong to France?

Proximity has nothing to do with ownership, my friend. Or at the very least, it's not so simple. They are part of the Kurils, Russia took them in war (hence, spoils of war), and Japan gave up all rights to the islands in the Treaty of San Francisco.

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The Japanese have the moral high ground but not the actual island high ground... seriously, in the 1940s they would have had the entitlement but the problem is that generations of the now-exclusively Russian population have lived and died there.

The other problem is that under the 1951 San Francisco treaty, Japan relinquished all the islands and officially stated at the time that those included the southern Kurils. The deal to hand back some of them in the 1950s, which was blocked by the US, would have officially assigned the larger islands to the USSR in any case as well.

Yeah, I know the USSR never signed the treaty and the international community has never officially said that all the islands are Russia's. But the USSR got them by default. There's no international law that says Hokkaido belongs to Japan either, but everyone accepts that it does.

I found an indication that all this goes back to the 1855 Russia-Japan treaty, which apparently differ slightly in the Japanese and Russian versions... the Russian one says that Russia will take the "other" Kuril islands, with that word missing from the Japanese version, i.e. the Japanese version alone implies that only the northern islands are actually the Kurils. A stroke of a pen and 200 years of conflict follows.

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Try the UN Security Council to finally decide this one, according to international law the islands belong to Japan and are inherently Japans. In reality, the islands dont originally belong to Russia and Russia stole them basically but of course in denial. The only real reason Russia cares are the following reasons: They honestly don`t want U.S forces up there and also security reasons Also the bottom line reason above all is excellent fishing grounds and valuable natural resources such as oil, natural gas, gold and even silver for example in that area!

It`s competition to the teeth, better get used to it

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skylark21: "In reality, the islands dont originally belong to Russia and Russia stole them basically but of course in denial."

Russia didn't 'steal' them, they were taking in an offensive during war-time, and are as such the spoils of war. Imagine if Japan had never waged its war of aggression... they would still have those islands and so much more. However, they did, and when Russia declared war on Japan at the end of WWII they got these islands. Japan soon after formally signed off any claims in the aforementioned treaty (check above posts), but then reneged later stating the islands in question are not technically part of the Kurils.

In other words, not only did Japan lose these islands in a war they helped start, but they also later broke the conditions for peace.

"The only real reason Russia cares are the following reasons: They honestly don`t want U.S forces up there and also security reasons Also the bottom line reason above all is excellent fishing grounds and valuable natural resources such as oil, natural gas, gold and even silver for example in that area!"

So you think if these islands were for whatever reason given to Japan as a present the US would suddenly move up there? No... the US may worry about an increased Russian military presence on the island, but if they were given as a present to Japan the US wouldn't suddenly up there presence there, methinks. As for wanting to keep them based on the natural resources, I can understand that -- probably the main reason Japan wants Russian territory as well.

Regardless, they are Russian, have been, and will be for some time. Time is on Russia's side -- everyone knows that. That is one of the main reasons why Japan wants to wrap this up so quickly.

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High time Falkland islands are liberated from the British :) Ugh disgusting when you become a loser and still claim your loot. British or Russian does not matter. Yesterday, I watched a lovely documentary on NHK. Putin was saying that the Russians presume that it is Russias. And the ladies who were interviewed were saying how suddenly Putin wanted to change the things in the island. The shops were full of goods, a new kindergarten was set up. And in a facility, the citizens were asking can we have a sports facility and Medvedev said "most ceratinly". The whole show was poorly orchestarted. So when Russians themselves are quite clear that these were new developments, do not understand why Canadians are worried about Kurils.

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SmithinJapan You are saying that those islands were never originally Japans? For real? Sakhalin understandbly can be Russia but especially the two islands very close to Hokkaido just split them half thats all Lower two to Japan and the upper two to Russia that doesn`t have to be so hard you know? Seriously look at the geography of the islands! Russia is way big enough anyway so why be greedy to want more land makes no sense either!

And to not think that they are not very highly strategic area makes no sense Its downright competition whether you like it or not There are rich resources up there So probably the next silly thing well hear is Hokkaido doesn`t belong to Japan either hahaha

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*roomtemperature a who's more powerful militarily ? Ehhmm, that could be Russia. But quite irrelevant to this topic. It would be a disaster for Russia if they'd use their military to make their point. So, I don't really understand why you bring up the "military" thing

well, tell that to russia who have just stated recently that they will be beefing up their military presence on the island. .*

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Russia didn't 'steal' them, they were taking in an offensive during war-time, and are as such the spoils of war.

Most of the Chisima/Kuriles were invaded by USSR after August 15, 1945... so wouldn't that be spoils AFTER the war?

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Japan officially surrendered Sept 2nd so Kwabbish spoils of war. The Kurils had fallen to Russia by then.

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Quote: Smithinjapan.

Re:

"Russia didn't 'steal' them, they were taking in an offensive during war-time, and are as such the spoils of war. Imagine if Japan had never waged its war of aggression... they would still have those islands and so much more". "Imagine if Japan had never waged its war of aggression.... they would still have those islands and so much more".

There are to positives about the above quote:

Japan. Islands.

But the rest is presumption. You imply that all those States borders that the Soviets crossed were was to stop the aggression.

Read the history of the Baltic States, also the Caucasus and Finland. The aggressor was the Soviets. Why do you think there was a Cold War?

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So you think if these islands were for whatever reason given to Japan as a present the US would suddenly move up there?

There is no need for anyone to give islands as presents. By virtue of its location it belongs to Japan.

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roomtemperature let the discussion continue for the benefit of those who still cannot figure out as to why the russians are clamoring over Japan's possession:)

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Japan officially surrendered Sept 2nd so Kwabbish spoils of war. The Kurils had fallen to Russia by then.

Yes, but in most sense, hostilities with the Allied forces ceased on or about August 15 when Japan officially notified the Allied forces of its acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration through the Swiss on August 14th. The Soviets, on the other hand, shelled and bombed Shimushu from Cape Lopatka starting an offensive campaign starting on August 18.

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Acceptance of the postdam no way meant an end to the war, merely an acceptance of the terms of surrender, not the actual surrender. The popstdam gave the allies the right to take any land outside of the four main islands and Truman agreed that the Kurils would be run by the Soviets.

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smithinjapan at 12:40 PM JST - 14th February They are part of the Kurils, Russia took them in war (hence, spoils of >war), and Japan gave up all rights to the islands in the Treaty of San >Francisco.

Totally wrong as usual smith. The four islands are NOT part of the Kuriles. The "Kurile Islands" that Japan renounced did not include Etorofu, Kunashir, Shikotan, or Habomai islands, which had always been Japanese territories. They were never Russian or Soviet. The United States government also states in its official document that the "Kurile Islands" in the San Francisco Peace Treaty does not include and was not intended to include the Habomai Islands, or Shikotan, or the islands of Kunashir and Etorofu which have always been part of Japan proper and therefore under Japanese sovereignty.

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smithinjapan at 06:15 PM JST - 14th February Russia didn't 'steal' them, they were taking in an offensive during war->time, and are as such the spoils of war

Yes they did. "During a time of war, occupation of one country's territory by another can take place and according to international ar, the occupying country has the right to put the territory, based on military requirements, under its administration. However, at the same time, an occupying nation's obligation, including respect for the private rights of the residents are provided for by international norms including the 1907 Hague Convention respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land. Stalin ignored these international norms and incorporated the territories under occupation into its own territory by the Decree of Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, dated February 2, 1946. This act was executed without a peace treaty and was in complete violation of international law. However, under the totalitarian system, this annexation was disguised as if it were a legal act, and such propaganda had long been continued as if the islands of Etorofu, Kunashir, Shikotan, and Habomai had legally become Soviet territory. Consequently, the misconception that these were indeed Soviet territories began to take hold among people in the Soviet Union. In addition, reportedly, a misunderstanding arose that the resolution of the territorial issue between Japan and Russia is the question of ceding something that is originally Soviet territory to Japan, or the question of selling out such territory to Japan."

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spudman at 10:22 PM JST - 14th February Japan officially surrendered Sept 2nd so Kwabbish spoils of war.

No, Japan surrendered to the Allies on August 15th. The formal surrender was on September 2nd. You can't shoot a handcuffed criminal on his way to the station on the grounds that he hasn't been formerly booked yet. None of the other Allies took any offensive action against Japan after August 15th. The USSR started taking the four islands on August 18th.

The Kurils had fallen to Russia by then.

The four islands are not part of the Kuriles, although they are called "southern kuriles" by the Russians. The US and other allies to this day recognize them to be Japanese territory.

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Japanese army lossed it after the war. The posession can be viewed as a victory trophy since they were at war with each other. The Japanese army did occupy into Russia during that time. In addition, the Japanese army didn't think twice of the occupancy of Korea and of the brutality it did to the innocents. So, without further adue, Japan would have to wait for another 10 years or so. Good luck !!

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"The US Senate Resolution of April 28, 1952, ratifying of the San Francisco Treaty, explicitly stated that the USSR had no title to the Kurils,[17] the resolution stating:

As part of such advice and consent the Senate states that nothing the treaty [San Francisco Peace Treaty] contains is deemed to diminish or prejudice, in favor of the Soviet Union, the right, title, and interest of Japan, or the Allied Powers as defined in said treaty, in and to South Sakhalin and its adjacent islands, the Kurile Islands, the Habomai Islands, the Island of Shikotan, or any other territory, rights, or interests possessed by Japan on December 7, 1941, or to confer any right, title, or benefit therein or thereto on the Soviet Union.

The USA maintains that until a peace treaty between Japan and Russia is concluded, the disputed Northern Territories remain Japanese territory under Russian military occupation via General Order No. 1.[9]"

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What Russians did wrong was the forcible deportation of 17,000 Japanese residents on the Southern Kurile Islands and the subsequent settlement of Soviet citizens, executed by the USSR between 1947 and 1949 violated another international regulation, namely to deport indigenous population in absence of military requirements and to form settlements on occupied territories.

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The title is "Who has the best claim" but you can see from this entire thread that the only basis that Russia has for it's claim is that it was taken by force.

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Sharing compatible principles and values.

It the two (Foreign Minister of Japan and Russsia) can’t agree on simple facts with understanding, it is much more complicated to share mutual understanding.

The building blocks of understanding require consistency. Understanding can’t be achieved if the values and principles are in conflict.

If at the very basic level there is no understanding, then conflict remains.

Similar to that of technology when multiple module group operate on the same data. Communication cohesion is achieved or it is in conflict, because of the data.

Exactly like when learning a new language, the basic's need to be learned and respected, other wise understanding can't be achieved.

Without understanding then power play takes over.

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What is the value of these little islands in terms of GDP? I mean come on, who really cares about a few dots in the ocean. Just let Russia have them and focus on more important domestic issues...

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1. To: Tokyokawasaki.

”I mean come on”.

You mean come on GDP, that’s what politicians are for, and who cares about anything else.

Voters do put pressure on politicians according to the voter’s personal values.

GDP s is important but there is also National identity and Cultural understanding and National pride.

Products made in Japan, is also one component of National pride. That deserves respect from the overseas consumers.

Respect for their excellent products, and reliable friendly people. Japanese are the leaders in many fields on manufacturing.

International Communities/organizations do communicate and share understanding.

Why should Japanese foreign minister buy the confused facts and wrong data from Russian?

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while the 2 sides keep bikering.........

from the NY Times............ " The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Thursday denied a report that Chinese and Russian companies had agreed to start a joint venture in islands that are disputed by Russia and Japan. Kyodo News, a Japanese news agency, had reported that the companies intended to farm sea cucumbers, a delicacy among Chinese, on one of four islands near the northeast coast of Hokkaido, Japan. Russia has reportedly invited enterprises from other countries to invest in businesses there, but so far there has been no third-party investment. “The issue regarding the four northern islands is a bilateral issue between Russia and Japan, and we hope the two sides will properly handle the issue through talks,” said Ma Zhaoxu, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, according to official Chinese "

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tokyokawasaki at 03:59 PM JST - 18th February What is the value of these little islands in terms of GDP? I mean come >on, who really cares about a few dots in the ocean. Just let Russia have >them and focus on more important domestic issues...

While there is somewhat limited economic value, most of it being fisheries and natural resources, the big value for Russia is that controlling the four islands limits any country's ability to block the Russian pacific naval ports like Vladivostock. Of course this is aimed at the United States.

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Russia (Soviet Union) is not a part of the The San Francisco Peace Treaty, as defined by the Article 25 of the treaty, and thus, all further applications of the San Francisco Peace Treaty norms to relationships between Russia and Japan have no meaning.

"...statements by former Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida at San Francisco and in his later memoirs, and newspaper reports all make it clear that Etorofu and Kunashiri were most definitely included (into Kurili Islands). The chief U.S. negotiator for the San Francisco treaty, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, agreed. Asked at San Francisco to define the territory of the Kurils, he said only that the Habomais might be excluded..."

... And, according to the said treaty, "Japan must give up all claims to the Kuril islands".

As the result, The San Francisco Peace Treaty is not acceptable for Japan either, thus making it an issue between two countries only. Is anyone interested what documents were signed between Russia and Japan with respect to those islands?

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Konsta at 11:26 PM JST - 18th February Is anyone interested what documents were signed between Russia and Japan with respect to those islands?

"According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in April 1991, at the time of the visit of then Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev to Japan, the Japan-Soviet Joint Communique issued expressly mentioned the Islands of Habomai, Shikotan, Etorofu, and Kunashir. Furthermore, in the Communique, it was agreed that the peace treaty should be the document marking the final resolution of war-related issues, including the territorial issue and that work to conclude the preparation of a peace treaty would be accelerated. In September 1992, the Joint Compendium of Document on the History of Territorial Problems between Japan and Russia was released simultaneously in both countries. In October 1993, Russian President Boris Yeltsin visited Japan, and after negotiating with then Japanese Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa, the Tokyo Declaration was signed. The Declaration established the clear basis for negotiations toward an early conclusion of a peace treaty through the solution of the territorial issue on the basis of historical and legal facts and based on the documents produced with the two countries' agreement as well as on the principles of law and justice. Since then, the Tokyo Declaration has been repeatedly confirmed as the basis of the development of bilateral relations between the two countries."

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gustavadolf at 03:19 PM JST - 18th February. Sharing compatible principles and values. It the two (Foreign Minister of Japan and Russsia) can’t agree on simple facts with understanding, it is much more complicated to share mutual understanding. The building blocks of understanding require consistency. Understanding can’t be achieved if the values and principles are in conflict. If at the very basic level there is no understanding, then conflict remains.

You must be dreaming. Russia goverment is culturally different and kept under control by the imposition of ruthless military with mass murder and population deportation as standard, be it by the Stalin or any of his successors including Putin. Russians understand only force and respect only force. If Japan tries to destabilize situation in the Kurils, and by doing so dreaming of weakening Russia, Japan can fall into the trap you set yourselves. There is no shared values period.

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1. To: sfjp330. Sharing compatible principles and values.

Thanks for your comments. Not dreaming, just looking straight ahead, up the middle of the road.

There are three words that make some people froth up in the mouth:

Understanding. Cohesion. Natural Law.

So many people can't even sit down, focus and think about a single topic that is put in front of them. And use the information for learning and share a cohesive opinion.

The building blocks of understanding require consistency.

If at the very basic level there is no understanding, then conflict remains.

Communicational cohesion is when parts of a module are grouped because they operate on the same data (e.g. a module which operates on the same record of information).

Self determined and Independent Nations think and make decisions. Unlike what the Communist Soviets tried to do. Brainwash people into useless/mindless muddle. Parroting words that they were fed with.

The wider world has a lot of shared values, and Japan is working along with them. Don't buy the "threat-bully-extortion" of the Soviets, that will only dig a hole for them.

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gustavadolf at 05:47 AM JST - 19th February. Sharing compatible principles and values.

Why don't you read facts and understand the principals and values of agreement. In all fairness, the Soviet Union lived up to the obligations implicit in the Yalta Agreement of February 1945, signed by Soviet leader Stalin, U.S. president Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Churchill, six months before Japan's surrender on August 1945. At the Yalta Conference, the U.S. and the British allowed the Soviet Union to unjustly invade and occupy these Japanese lands in the post World War II period, a reward for Soviet participation in the war.

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gustavadolf at 05:47 AM JST - 19th February. Sharing compatible principles and values.

If you read the history clearly, the problem was not a fault of Russians or Japanese. During the 1956 peace talks between Japan and the Soviet Union, they actually shared principals and values. The Soviet side proposed to settle the dispute by returning Shikotan and Habomai to Japan, but an U.S. intervention warning Japan that a withdrawal of the Japanese claim on the other islands would mean the U.S. would keep on to Okinawa, caused Japan to refuse these terms. Blame it on the U.S. The Russians no longer need Japanese assistance. They have China as a major trade partner in the Far East Asia and they will continue to take a hard line stance against Japan. Nothing will change on Kuril Island issue.

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sfjp330 at 06:03 AM JST - 19th February At the Yalta Conference, the U.S. and the British allowed the Soviet >Union to unjustly invade and occupy these Japanese lands in the post >World War II period, a reward for Soviet participation in the war.

No, you're quite wrong. The gop ahead was goven to Stalin to take territories that were formerly Russian prior to the Russo-Japanese War of 1904/05. That was specifically the southern half of Sakhalin and the Kuriles. However the four islands are not part of the Kuriles and they were never taken from Russia as they have always been Japanese territory. After the USSR took the what was promised at the Yalta Conference, after Japan surrendered on Aug 15th they occupied the four islands on August 18th. Just another soviet land grab which the US and the UK did not recognize as in keeping with the Yalta Conference, and still don't to this day.

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Wow - neck and neck at 50% each! The gaijin community seems equally divided on this controversial issue.

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Smithinjapan.

“They're Russian islands, bottom line. Any claim to the contrary is moot. They were taken in war, and are lived on and administered by Russia”

Will you clarify something for me?

Do you believe what you have written to be both a normal and acceptable way for things to be? Simply, do you believe this is right?

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