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Tokyo to allow Russians to stay on Southern Kurils if Russia gives them to Japan

According to a newspaper, this is part of the new approach towards solving the territorial dispute between Japan and Russia

TOKYO, September 1. /TASS/. Japan’s authorities will allow Russian residents of Southern Kuril islands to stay there, if Russia gives the islands to Japan, the Mainichi newspaper reported.

"The Japanese government has approved the position implying that if Russia gives Southern Kuril Islands to Japan, the Japanese side will agree that "the Russian citizens already residing on those islands will remain there," the newspaper said.

According to the newspaper, this is part of the "new approach" towards solving the territorial dispute between Japan and Russia, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe mentioned during his visit to Sochi in May.

New approach

NHK public television reports Abe intends to create a new ministerial position on economic relations with Russia in the cabinet and offer it to the current Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan Hiroshige Seco.

According to the report, this initiative is aimed at the development of Russian-Japanese economic relations and is taking place ahead of the upcoming meeting at the second East Economic Forum.

"Also during the forthcoming visit Prime Minister Abe will propose to hold summits in Vladivostok on annual basis," NHK reported.

President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are expected to meet on September 2, on the sidelines of the EEF in Vladivostok. According to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, at the meeting the two leaders will discuss a wide range of bilateral relations, including economic cooperation, territorial dispute over the Kuril Islands and possibility of Russian president's visit to Japan.

Russia and Japan have no peace treaty signed after World War II. Settlement of the problem inherited by Russia’s diplomacy from the Soviet Union is hampered by the years-long dispute over the four islands of Russia’s Southern Kurils - Shikotan, Khabomai, Iturup and Kunashir, which Japan calls its Northern Territories.

After World War II, in September 1945, Japan signed the capitulation, and in February 1946, the Kuril Islands were declared territories of the Soviet Union. In 1956, a joint declaration was signed ending the state of war between the USSR and Japan, but no peace treaty was signed.