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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 February 5 - 10  > PM Abe refrains from saying 'northern islands are Japan's territory'
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2020 February 5 - 10 [POLITICS]

PM Abe refrains from saying 'northern islands are Japan's territory'

February 8, 2020

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, just like last year, intentionally failed to refer to the currently Russian-held Northern Territories as "the territory of Japan" in a government-sponsored annual convention calling for the return of the disputed northern islands on February 7 in Tokyo.

This shows that the Japanese government retreated from the previous policy of claiming "the four islands", intending to settle the issue with the "return of only two islands" by renouncing the country's sovereignty over all the islands.

The Abe government until two years ago stated that it would "solve the territorial dispute over the four islands". Resolutions adopted in past conventions also stated that Russia has been "occupying the four northern islands unlawfully". However, the government has given in to Russia which insists on its claim to the four northern islands, and has been refraining from using the expression "Japan's territory" in public such as in the Diet.

Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Councilors Kami Tomoko attended this annual convention. Taking this opportunity, the JCP issued a statement pointing out that the entire Chishima Archipelago, including Etorofu and Kunashiri, is part of "Japanese territory peacefully confirmed" by the 1875 Sakhalin-Kuril Exchange Treaty aka Saint Petersburg Treaty. The statement points out that the present Japan-Russia territorial issue stems from the decision made by the U.S., the U.K., and the former Soviet Union in the Yalta Agreement that the Soviet Union would take over the Chishimas in violation of the postwar principle of "territorial non-expansionism". According to the statement, the JCP will be "fully committed to ending this unfair postwar measure".

Past related article:
> Abe in annual convention says nothing about return of ‘four northern islands’ [February 8, 2019]
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