Japan Calls Russian PM to Dispute Island Hurts Public

Japan Calls Russian PM to Dispute Island Hurts Public

Japan said Monday's visit by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin to the disputed island of Etorofu had hurt "the feelings of the Japanese people."

UMMATIMES - In a statement, Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said "this visit is deeply regrettable, as it does not conform to the consistent position of the Japanese Government in the Northern Territory and hurts the sentiments of the Japanese people."

Motegi said the issue had not been resolved more than 70 years after the end of World War II, and that Japan had been negotiating a peace treaty with Russia. At the Japan-Russia Summit Telephone Talk in September last year, the two leaders affirmed to "speed up negotiations based on the Japan-Soviet Joint Declaration of 1956."

Against such a backdrop, the statement added, the Russian prime minister's visit was "unacceptable for Japan and it does not contribute to Japan-Russia relations at all."

Under the declaration, after a peace treaty between the two rivals, Shikotan and the island group Habomai, two of the four disputed islands will be ceded to Japan. Japan strongly urges the Russian side "to act constructively" for the future progress of Japan-Russia relations, towards progressing peace treaty negotiations, including joint economic activities in the Four Northern Islands.

Moscow stressed that the islands were "legally acquired after Tokyo surrendered in the war," and urged Tokyo to recognize them. Meanwhile, Tokyo sees the takeover as "illegal."