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Japan's diplomat summoned to Russian Foreign Ministry over exhibit about Southern Kurils

On show in Tokyo are exhibits substantiating Japan's claims to the Southern Kuril Islands
The Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry Valery Sharifulin/TASS
The Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry
© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, January 28. /TASS/. The Japanese embassy’s minister counsellor was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry over an exhibition in Tokyo displaying exhibits allegedly substantiating Japan’s claims to the Southern Kuril Islands, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

"We drew attention of the Japanese diplomat to the permanent exhibition Territory and Sovereignty that opened in Tokyo on January 21 with support from the official authorities. The exhibition displays, among other things, propaganda materials allegedly substantiating the legitimacy of Japan’s territorial claims to the Southern Kuril Islands," the ministry stated. "We stressed that Russia’s legitimate sovereignty over this territory is incontestable and warned that such actions of the Japanese side run counter to the agreement of the leaders of our countries on creating a positive atmosphere in bilateral relations."

"We interpret it as another evidence to the Japanese partners’ reluctance to accept the results of World War II in full," the ministry added. 

Russia and Japan have been negotiating a peace treaty since the end of World War II in the mid-20th century. The main stumbling block to this is the issue of the ownership of the southern Kuril Islands. After the end of World War II, all Kuril Islands were incorporated into the Soviet Union. However, Japan challenged the ownership of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan islands and a number of uninhibited islands of the Lesser Kuril Ridge called the Habomai Islands in Japan.

In 1956, the Soviet Union and Japan signed a joint declaration on ceasing the state of war. The two countries resumed diplomatic and other relations, however no peace treaty has been signed until now.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly said that Russia’s sovereignty over these islands, which is committed to paper in international documents, cannot be called to question.