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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 March 9 - 15  > Online news program features JCP’s position on Japan-Russia territorial issue
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2022 March 9 - 15 [POLITICS]

Online news program features JCP’s position on Japan-Russia territorial issue

March 13, 2022
TV Tokyo on March 11 offered on its video-on-demand platform a video of a news program on the theme of the northern territory issue and the Japanese Communist Party.

At the beginning of the program, TV Tokyo reporter and program MC Shinohara Hiroaki pointed out that triggered by the ongoing Ukraine crisis, the Japan-Russia territorial issue has attracted public attention. He said, “While the government designates the four islands of Kunashiri, Etorofu, Habomai, and Shikotan as “northern territories” and requests Russia to return these territories, there is a political party that demands that not only the four islands but also the entire Chishima (Kurile) Archipelago be returned from Russia to Japan. It is the Japanese Communist Party.”

Shinohara introduced Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii’s answer at a press conference on March 10 to Shinohara’s question about why the JCP demands the return of the entire Chishima islands.

Shii in his reply said that the JCP has claimed that in order to resolve the territorial issue, it is vital to correct the unjust post-war disposition after WWII, and explained the JCP view as follows:

During World War II, the Allied Powers repeatedly expressed territorial non-expansion as the main principle to be upheld in a post-war disposition. However, in 1945 at the Yalta Conference, Soviet Union leader Stalin, U.S. President Roosevelt, and British Prime Minister Churchill made a secret agreement which accepted Stalin’s demand for the handover of the Chishima Islands to the Soviets as a condition for the Soviet entry into the war against Japan. And then, the Soviets occupied the Chishimas. Furthermore, reflecting on this unjust situation, the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty in its Article 2 stipulates Japan’s renunciation of the Chishima islands. The JCP stresses the need to correct this unjust post-war disposition and hold territorial negotiations with Russia based on the 1875 Karafuto-Chishima exchange treaty (Sakhalin/Kurile Exchange Treaty).

The exchange treaty followed peaceful talks and confirmed that the Chishimas from Uruppu to Shumshu in the north as well as Kunashiri and Etorofu in the south were entirely incorporated into the Japanese territory in exchange for Russia’s occupation of Karafuto (Sakhalin). Japan should demand the return of the entire Chishimas in line with this treaty. In this regard, Japan should urge Russia to return Habomai and Shikotan islands without delay as these islands are part of Hokkaido. In order to achieve this, Japan needs to conclude a treaty on this matter prior to concluding a peace treaty. Japan should continue holding talks with Russia for the purpose of taking back the entire Chishima archipelago.

The program also dealt with an agreement which Japanese Prime Minister Abe in 2016 concluded with Russian President Putin. Program MC Shinohara pointed out that the Abe-Putin agreement confirmed that the two countries will accelerate negotiations in accordance of the 1956 Japan-Soviet joint declaration indicating the return of Habomai and Shikotan islands. The program MC introduced the JCP position on the Abe-Putin agreement explained by the JCP chair at the March 10 press conference.

Regarding the agreement, Shii said that the Abe government thought that building a mutual relationship of trust between PM Abe and President Putin would have a positive impact on the territorial negotiations, but this was just fantasy. He went on to say that as a result, Japan was forced to shift its approach to the return of only two islands.

Furthermore, Shii noted that PM Abe and President Putin at that time also concluded an eight-item agreement regarding Japan-Russia economic cooperation. Shii pointed out that he opposed the bilateral economic cooperation agreement as it will help strengthen Russia’s effective control over Japan-claimed “northern territories”. He added, “As I stated, currently, Russia is increasing its effective control by designating the northern Chishimas and Haboimai and Shikotan islands as economic special zones. This shows the mistake in former PM Abe’s strategy on the territorial issue. Japan should cancel the planned economic cooperation with Russia.

At the end of the program, Shinohara in regard to why the JCP takes such a strong position on the Japan-Russia territorial issue introduced JCP Secretariat Koike Akira’s remark at a press conference on March 7.

Koike said, “Like the former Soviet Union, the current Putin-led Russia carries out activities trampling on the post-war peace order. The JCP always takes a stance to criticize such acts and has experience in confronting the former Soviet Union based on this stance.”

Past related articles:
> How we can break the stalemate in the Japan-Russia territorial negotiations [October 18, 2016]
> Don’t seal a pact on the return of only Habomais and Shikotan: JCP Koike [October 12, 2016]

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