TOKYO, February 28. /TASS/. Russia occupied the southern part of the Kuril Islands, which contradicts the international law, as well as the invasion of Ukraine, Japanese Foreign Ministry Europe Department Director Hideki Uyama said during debates in the parliament Monday.
"The Northern Territories [Japanese name for the Southern Kurils - TASS] are occupied by Russia, and we believe that this contradicts the international law, as well as the ongoing attack of the Russian army on Ukraine," the official said.
The Japanese authorities have been refraining from the term "occupation" in the recent years, instead preferring to say that "these islands are covered by the Japanese sovereignty."
Moscow and Tokyo have been engaging in talks on development of the World War II peace treaty since mid-20th century. The sovereignty of the Southern Kuril Islands remains the main obstacle. After the war, the entire archipelago became a part of the Soviet Union, but Japan challenges the sovereignty of the islands of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and a group of smaller uninhabited islands. Russian Foreign Ministry repeatedly stated that the sovereignty of these islands is cemented in international documents and cannot be challenged.