MOSCOW, April 11. /TASS/. The southern part of the Kuril Islands are an inseparable part of Russia, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday, commenting on a Japanese Foreign Ministry statement alleging that these territories are under Russian occupation.
"We see them [such statements] quite regularly. We reject such ideas and such wording. The Kuril Islands are an inseparable part of Russia," he said.
In its annual report on Japan’s foreign policy and activities, the Diplomatic Bluebook, the Japanese Foreign Ministry once again slammed Moscow’s decision to terminate talks on a formal peace treaty with Japan due to Tokyo’s imposition of unilateral anti-Russian sanctions in connection with the situation in Ukraine. The Japanese Foreign Ministry also noted that it regularly expresses protests to the Russian side over military drills in the southern part of the Kuril Islands.
The Japanese authorities had refrained from using the term "illegal occupation" in respect to the Kuril Islands during the prime ministerial tenure of Shinzo Abe. However, after relations between the two countries became strained last year due to developments in Ukraine, the Japanese Foreign Ministry once again began using this term in its annual reports.
Russia and Japan have been negotiating a peace treaty after World War II since 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.