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News > Russia

Russia-Japan Tensions Obstruct Peace Negotiations: Nozdrev

  • Russian ship in a military drill in the Sea of Japan, 2024.

    Russian ship in a military drill in the Sea of Japan, 2024. | Photo: X/ @SALPO96

Published 3 April 2024

Moscow and Tokyo have failed to sign a peace treaty due to their rival claims to four islands.

On Wednesday, Russian Ambassador to Japan Nikolai Nozdrev said that discussions of a peace agreement with Japan are impossible due to Japan's hostile policies.


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During an interview with Russia's TASS news agency, Nozdrev said the term "peace agreement" is misleading.

"Before the current period of cooling of bilateral relations with Japan began, we were talking specifically about a treaty on peace, good neighborliness and cooperation," he said.

This extensive document is intended to set the framework and foundation for the long-term development of relations into the foreseeable future, Nozdrev said, adding that "discussing such a document with a country that essentially pursues a hostile policy towards Russia is not possible at this stage."

Russia and Japan have not signed a post-World War II peace treaty due to their rival claims to four Pacific islands, called the Southern Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan.

The four islands used to belong to Japan, which were seized by the Soviet Union after the war and were incorporated into Russia following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Tokyo maintains that Moscow illegally occupied the islands.

According to a joint declaration signed in 1956, Russia agreed to return two of the islands after a bilateral peace treaty is signed, while Japan refused to sign such an agreement, insisting on the return of all four islands.

Russia's principled position remains unchanged on Japan's "unconditional recognition" of the results of World War II, including Russia's Sovereignty over the islands.

Following Tokyo's imposition of sanctions due to Russia's special military operation in Ukraine, Russia ceased consultations with Japan regarding the peace treaty.

Moscow also withdrew from negotiations with Tokyo on joint economic activities on the southern Kuril Islands and blocked the extension of Japan's status as a partner in the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization's sectoral dialogue. 

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