The Japanese government’s attempt to present the Russian South Kuril Islands as “illegally occupied” by Russia looks helpless and absurd. There is also the old Russian word nevsuporitsa (anachronism), which characterizes the inclusion of such a definition in the Japanese government document “The Blue Book on Diplomacy”. That is, we are dealing with a deliberate shift and a shift in the events of the past with the present, because today it is absurd to talk about the “occupation” of the Kuril Islands.
The landing of Soviet armed forces on all the Kuril Islands, including the southern ones, in agreement with the command of the allied powers – the United States and Great Britain, was initially not an occupation, but the occupation of territories that previously belonged to Russia, about which there was a documented agreement between the leaders of the three great powers – Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill .
On January 29, 1946, a special memorandum was issued by the Commander-in-Chief of the occupying forces in the Far East, American General Douglas MacArthur, to the government of Japan, which announced the withdrawal from the Japanese state of all (we emphasize this) Kuril Islands, including the southern ones, to the coast of Hokkaido. Even the small islands on which Japan lost sovereignty were listed. The Japanese government did not object, because this was in accordance with one of the provisions of the Potsdam Declaration, on the terms of which Japan surrendered unconditionally on September 2, 1945.
Japan agreed to the withdrawal of the Kuril Islands from its sovereignty, signing in 1951 and then ratifying the San Francisco Peace Treaty, which reads: “Japan renounces all rights, titles and claims to the Kuril Islands and to that part of Sakhalin Island and the islands adjacent to it, sovereignty over which Japan acquired under the Portsmouth Treaty of September 5, 1905”. When ratifying this treaty, the Japanese Foreign Ministry recognized that it contained Japan’s renunciation of all the Kuril Islands, including the southern ones.
There is not a single document that allows the Japanese government to claim at least one island of the Kuril chain. Nor are the references to Khrushchev’s promise to hand over to Japan the island of Shikotan and the group of flat islands, Habomai in Japanese, to Japan after the conclusion of the peace treaty. This promise was disavowed at the direction of the same Khrushchev in January 1960, after Japan concluded an updated military treaty with the United States on the indefinite presence of American armed forces on Japanese territory. The possibility of returning to the issue of the transfer of these islands was due to the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Japan, which has not yet happened.
The Japanese government, ignoring the facts and documents concerning the statehood of the Kuril Islands, deliberately misleads its own people and the international community. References to the Japanese-Russian treaty of 1855 on the establishment of diplomatic relations are also untenable, when the Russian representative, Admiral Evfimy Putyatin, due to unfavorable circumstances for Russia, was forced to sacrifice the islands of the southern part of the Kuril chain that had belonged to the Russian Empire since Catherine’s time.
This brief historical digression is necessary due to the fact that, taking advantage of the desire of the American administration to punish Russia for a special military operation in Ukraine, and in reality to destroy our country, the Japanese government is trying to open a “second front” in the Far East, for which it is tightening pressure on Moscow in the “territorial question”.
However, these attempts give the opposite result. Accustomed to the fact that the Russian authorities generally tolerated the Japanese campaign of “struggle for northern territories”, the Japanese government was surprised when Moscow declared Japan an unfriendly state. This step was a response to Japanese sanctions, which not only affected trade and economic relations between the two countries and the expulsion of diplomats, but also contained direct attacks on Russia’s top leaders.
Neither did Tokyo expect Moscow’s announcement about the termination of negotiations on a peace treaty (negotiations actually became a loophole for putting forward revanchist demands on the Russian territories at the official level). At the same time, negotiations on “joint economic activity” in the Kuril Islands and the refusal of “visa-free visits” by Japanese citizens of the Kuril Islands, which were bypassing Russian legislation, were terminated.
The presidential envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District and Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian government Yuri Trutnev said that Russia’s response to the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s statement about the illegal occupation of part of the Kuril Islands will be the comprehensive development of these territories. “Japan’s latest statement about illegal occupation and so on – I have a completely natural reaction to this, probably, like any citizen of the Russian Federation. I want to say that we will definitely answer, we will answer very simply: now we will try to launch cruise ships there, we have already thought about where to get them. Now we will simply take two ships from the existing fund, then we will build them.”Trutnev said during a working trip to the Khabarovsk Territory.
According to the presidential envoy, Russia will develop the Kuriles, implement new projects, invest in these territories, bring tourists there and work on the Kuril Islands. Trutnev added that it “without a doubt, the territory of the Russian Federation”.
Tokyo’s reaction to these words of the presidential envoy cannot be characterized except as excited. At a regular press conference on April 26, Japanese Cabinet Secretary General Hirokazu Matsuno stated: “We are aware of the mentioned statements of Deputy Prime Minister Trutnev. The four northern islands are the islands to which our sovereignty extends, and these are the ancestral territories of our country. Statements to the effect that these territories have become Russian territory are completely unacceptable.”. Matsuno stressed that the corresponding position of the Japanese government is regularly communicated to the Russian side.
informing about it, TASS recalls that the press secretary of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov, in connection with the position of Japan stated in the Blue Book on Diplomacy, named all four islands in the southern part of the Kuril chain, which Tokyo illegally claims, “an integral part of the territory of the Russian Federation”.
The Japanese government is free to choose whom to support and whom to condemn in the situation in Ukraine. But Tokyo must understand that the “hellish sanctions” against the neighboring state, which this time are not only the fulfillment of the will of the overlord – the United States, but also revenge for Moscow’s refusal to consider the revanchist demands of the Japanese government, will darken Japanese-Russian relations for a long time, sow deep distrust of the Japanese authorities will encourage further strengthening of ties and cooperation with other neighbors of Russia in the Far East, which, unlike the Japanese, are building relations with our country not opportunistic, but looking to the future.
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