In a statement on March 21, the Russian Foreign Ministry said considering Japan’s unfriendly behavior toward Russia regarding the situation in Ukraine, Russia does not intend to continue talks with Japan on signing a post-World War II peace treaty. Russia has also withdrawn from joint economic projects with Japan on the disputed territories, the Kuril Islands, and ended visa-free travel by Japanese citizens.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida responded today at the Senate Budget Committee that he strongly opposed Russia’s decision, calling it “unfair” and “completely unacceptable”. Japan and Russia have not signed a formal peace treaty since the end of World War II because of the standoff over the sovereignty of the northern territories.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Japan has announced a series of sanctions against Russia, including a ban on issuing visas to people in the pro-Russian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, freezing their assets and banning import trade in the relevant regions. Last week, Japan also announced its intention to revoke Russia’s most-favored nation trade status, expand the scope of asset freezing against Russian elites and other sanctions. Therefore, Russia’s refusal to continue peace talks and ending visa-free travel for Japanese citizens are countermeasure against Japan’s sanction.