Japan Calls the Four Northern Islands Japan’s “Inherent Territory”

On April 22, Japan published its annual Diplomatic Bluebook. This year’s Diplomatic Bluebook has been thoroughly revised, and the revisions are clearly showing that Japan is adjusting the Japan-Russia relations in response to the Russia-Ukraine war. For the first time, Japan indicates that with the relative decline in the national power of the United States, the world has entered an era of Sino-US competition.
The Bluebook has several points worth highlighting: first of all, the book officially criticizes Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, pointing out that Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine has undermined the foundation of international order built over the past 100 years. Secondly, for the first time in 11 years, Japan describes the four northern islands, also known as the Kuril Islands, as Japan’s “inherent territory”. Third, in the Bluebook, Japan mentions for the first time in 19 years that the four northern islands have been illegally occupied by Russia, and Japan is currently in no position to resume the Japan-Russia peace talks on the issue of the four northern islands.
The Kuril Islands have historically been Japanese territory but were occupied by the Soviet Union after World War II and renamed the Four Northern Islands. In order to end the state of war between Japan and the Soviet Union, the two countries signed a joint declaration in 1956. The declaration was regarded as a formal trade protocol and the basis for a future peace treaty. Japan had remained in negotiations towards a bilateral peace treaty until 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea. Negotiations were temporarily paralyzed, but Japan never gave up its territorial ownership of the four northern islands.
Miles Guo previously stated that he believes that Russia will disintegrate in the future, and that disputes over territories occupied by Russia will be resolved, including Japan’s Kuril Islands.

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Translator: MOS Translation Team: Su T.
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