Japan to claim ownership of islands disputed with Russia

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday that his government will continue to insist on its sovereignty over a group of islets and several islands, seized by the Soviet Union following Japan's surrender at the end of World War II.

"There is no change" in Japan's position on its ownership over all of the Russian-controlled islands, Abe told a parliament committee.

Muneo Suzuki, a veteran lawmaker from the northern island of Hokkaido and advisor to Abe, has promoted a so-called "two-track" approach ahead of the premier's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in mid-December in Japan.

The approach reflects a 1956 joint declaration that states Moscow is to return the Habomai islet group as well as Shikotan island - which is part of the Kuril Islands chain - when the two countries conclude a post-war peace treaty.

However, Habomai and Shikotan make up only 7 per cent of all of the disputed islands and Japan insists to have them all returned, including two large islands of the Kurils which are known as Kunashiri and Etorofu in Japan and Kunashir and Iturup in Russia.

The territorial spat over the islands, called Kurils in Russia and the Northern Islands in Japan, has prevented the two countries from signing a post-World War II peace treaty.

Last update: Mon, 03/10/2016 - 09:56

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