Japan opposes Russia’s withdrawal from WWII peace treaty talks on sanctions

Russia and Japan have still not formally ended World War II hostilities due to the stalemate over the islands located just off Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido, known in Russia as as the Kuriles and in Japan as the Northern Territories. The islands were seized by the Soviets at the end of World War II.

“Under current conditions, Russia does not intend to continue negotiations with Japan on a peace treaty,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, citing “openly hostile positions and attempts of Japan to harm the interests of our country”.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he strongly opposed Russia’s decision, calling it “unfair” and “completely unacceptable”.

“This whole situation was created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and Russia’s response to push this on Japan-Russia relations is extremely unfair and completely unacceptable,” he said, adding that Japan’s attitude towards seeking a peace treaty was unchanged and that it had protested the Russian maneuver.

“Japan must resolutely continue to sanction Russia in cooperation with the rest of the world,” he added.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said Japan had lodged a protest with the Russian ambassador in Tokyo.

In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Japan last week announced plans to revoke Russia’s most-favoured-nation trade status, expand scope of asset freeze against elites Russians and to prohibit imports of certain products.

When announcing the measures last week, Kishida said Japan would also work with international aid agencies to deliver food and medicine to Ukrainians. He added that Japan had started accepting evacuees from Ukraine and appealed for public support.

Last year, President Vladimir Putin said that Tokyo and Moscow wanted good relations and called it absurd that they had not reached a peace agreement.

Russia also pulled out of talks with Japan on joint business projects on the Kuril Islands and ended visa-free travel for Japanese citizens, the statement said.


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