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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 November 14 - 20  > Gov’t must not conclude with Russia a peace pact to have only Habomais and Shikotan returned: Shii
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2018 November 14 - 20 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Gov’t must not conclude with Russia a peace pact to have only Habomais and Shikotan returned: Shii

November 16, 2018

Prime Minister Abe in Singapore on November 14 held talks with Russian President Putin and announced that they agreed to accelerate their negotiations for a peace treaty regarding the dispute over the Russian-held northern territories off Hokkaido, which include Habomai, Shikotan, Etorofu, and Kunashiri islands, based on the 1956 Japan-Soviet Joint Declaration.

Regarding the dispute, the 1956 Declaration states that the islands of Habomai and Shikotan will be transferred to Japan after the conclusion of a peace treaty. Given this fact, Abe’s announcement suggests that in future negotiations on the territorial issue, Abe and Putin would consider agreeing on the return of the two islands first.

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on the following day at a press conference in the Diet building commented on the Abe-Putin talks and said that it is unacceptable for the Japanese government to conclude a pact on the return of the two islands first.

Shii went on to say, “I don’t at present have detailed information about the two leaders’ meeting, but I just want to explain two points of the JCP basic position on the Japan-Russia territorial issue.”

First, Shii pointed out that as the Habomais and Shikotan are part of Hokkaido, the return of these islands ahead of other islands is a possible choice, and said, “If the Japanese government hopes to decide on this option, it should seek an interim treaty and sign a peace treaty after the full settlement of the territorial issue.”

Stressing, “A peace pact on the return of the two islands first is totally unacceptable,” Shii said, “To conclude a peace treaty means to determine the border between Japan and Russia, which would close the door for Japan to future negotiations on the remaining islands.” He added that if the Abe government agrees to such a treaty, it would basically renounce what the Japanese government has claimed in the past negotiations and would be criticized for waving the white flag of surrender to Russia.

Secondly, Shii pointed to the need for the Japanese government to review its policy on territorial negotiations with Russia. Explaining why the Tokyo-Moscow talks have made little progress on the territorial issue for more than 60 years, Shii said, “The Japanese government’s official position—Japan renounced its claim to the Chishima Islands in the San Francisco Peace treaty, but Kunashiri and Etorofu islands are not part of Chishimas and therefore should be returned to Japan—has no validity in the light of historical facts and international law.” He stressed, “The Japanese government should squarely admit to this mistake and drastically reconsider its policy on the territorial talks.”

Shii said, “The root of the Japan-Russia territorial issue lies in two international agreements: the 1945 Yalta agreements which allowed the former Soviet Union to take over the Chishima Islands in defiance of the important principle of territorial non-expansion; and the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty in which Japan, bound by the Yalta agreements, renounced the Chishima Islands. The Japanese government should negotiate with Russia with the view of correcting the unjustness in the postwar settlement and demand the return of the entire chain of Chishima Islands. Only by doing so can Japan find a way to solve the territorial issue.”

Past related articles:
> Abe's failure to counter Putin's proposal makes it difficult to resolve territorial issue[September 13, 2018]
> How we can break the stalemate in the Japan-Russia territorial negotiations [October 18, 2016]
> Shii appears in Hokkaido’s local business magazine [October 17, 2016]
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