TOKYO, February 5 (Itar-Tass) – A special agency reporting to the Japanese government chancellery will take of promoting Tokyo’s position in the territorial disputes that Japan is conducting with Russia, China, and South Korea, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference here Tuesday.
The ‘research and development department for the problems of territories and sovereignty’ will have a staff of 15 officials. Some of them will be delegated to the department by the already existing units including the Staff for Politics towards Northern Territories, which coordinates and finances the propaganda operations in connection with the Southern Kurile islands.
The authorities hope to invite private expert to assisting the new agency. For instance, the experts will have a job of studying and analyzing the other countries’ positions on the territorial problems.
Japan has territorial problems with practically all of its closest neighbors – Russia, China, and South Korea. It makes claims to the Southern Kurile islands, which returned to the realm of Russia’s sovereignty after World War II, and lays aspirations to the uninhabited Takeshima /Tokto/ islands in the Sea of Japan that are controlled by South Korea.
Tokyo in its turn condemns the ‘groundlessness’ of the statements by China that it occupies the Senkaku /known to the Chinese as Diaoyu/ archipelago. The Chinese government says Japan seized them in 1895 upon the results of a war between the two countries and should now be turned over to the People’s Republic of China as their legitimate owner.
The Senkaku Islands are a tiny archipelago with a total are of 7 sq km located in the East China Sea.
The Southern Kurile Islands are located in the southern section of the Kurile string of islands that separates the Sea of Okhotsk and the Pacific Ocean. They consist of three islands proper – Kunashir, Iturup and Shikotan – and a smaller archipelago known as Habomai.
The Soviet Union regained control over them after the completion of World War II combat operations in the Far East.