Ultimatum-sounding remarks by Japan’s newly-elected Prime Minister Fumio Kishida that Tokyo won’t agree to sign a peace treaty with Moscow without settling the territorial issue postpone the prospects of solving this problem, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.
The southern territories of the Kuril Islands constitute Russian soil, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated, commenting in response to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s statement regarding Tokyo’s claims of sovereignty over the South Kurils.
“We do not agree with such a statement, this is the territory of the Russian Federation,” the Kremlin spokesman stressed.
That being said, Peskov assured that Moscow was ready for dialogue with Tokyo to solve sensitive issues. “Moscow has repeatedly affirmed its political will at various levels, along with Russian President [Vladimir] Putin confirming his political determination to pursue dialogue with Tokyo in order to find solutions to the pressing questions that remain on the agenda,” Peskov said.
On Tuesday, during a debate in the Japanese parliament’s lower house, Kishida said that Tokyo’s sovereignty allegedly extended to the southern Kuril Islands. He specifed that the parties should “solve this issue and not leave it for future generations”. The prime minister also added that the Japanese government was committed to signing a peace treaty with Russia, resolving the ownership issue of these islands.
The statement of the newly elected Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida that Tokyo’s sovereignty covers the Northern Territories (Japan’s name for the South Kurils – TASS) may complicate his further negotiations with Moscow. The Kuril Islands dispute is a done deal in 1945, First Deputy Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs, Vladimir Dzhabarov reported on Tuesday.
“I think that it is not good that the Japanese prime minister made this statement, since, from my point of view, it complicates his further negotiations with our leadership. It is clear that Moscow won’t ignore this kind of statement,” he said.
The senator recalled that the new edition of the Russian Constitution does not provide for the dispossession of Russian territories to other countries.
According to him, this sort of statement by the prime minister is due to the fact that he had said this in front of his deputies before taking office. “Most likely, this is a demonstrative performance to show the inviolability of the theory that the Japanese have been adhering to for many years. For us, this dispute was closed back in 1945. We have repeatedly told them that we are ready to conclude a peace treaty without any discussion of territorial claims,” Dzhabarov concluded.