MOSCOW, March 9. /TASS/. Japan is destroying its own national interests by engaging in the Western-led bandwagon against Russia, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Sputnik Radio Wednesday, commenting on statements from Japanese officials about territorial claims against Moscow.
"Unfortunately, Japan has been very actively engaging in this Western mainstream and carries out all instructions without complaint," the diplomat said, "They apparently just don't realize how destructive they are regarding their own national interests."
"They just lined up as they were told. They have been trying to maintain some kind of balance for quite a long time, but apparently now the stakes have been raised and they are no longer resisting," the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman insisted.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called the southern part of the Kuril Islands, Japan's "ancestral territories" during a debate in the country's parliament on Monday. Tokyo has refrained from using the phrase "ancestral territories" in the context of the situation around the southern Kurils in recent years. On February 28, Director General of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s European Affairs Bureau Hideki Uyama claimed that the southern Kuril Islands were occupied by Russia. That being said, the Japanese authorities have been refraining from using the term "occupation" in recent years.
Moscow and Tokyo have been engaging in talks on hammering out a post-World War II peace treaty since the mid-20th century. The sovereignty of the Southern Kuril Islands remains the main obstacle. After the war, the entire archipelago became part of the Soviet Union, but Japan has challenged the sovereignty of the islands of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and a group of smaller uninhabited islands. Moscow has repeatedly stated that Russian sovereignty over these islands is cemented in international documents and cannot be challenged.