Japan demanded that Russia return the occupied islands

It’s about Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan and the Habomai islet group.

A rally was held in Tokyo on February 7, on the Day of the Northern Territories. For the first time, a demand was made for the Russian Federation to return the “illegally occupied” Japanese islands off the coast of Hokkaido. In Russia, they are called the Southern Kuriles.

Japan says the Soviet Union illegally seized the islands – Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan and the Habomai islet group – soon after Japan’s surrender in World War II on Aug. 15, 1945. Russia claims the action was legitimate.

According to Kyodo News, the rally was held near the Russian embassy. Its main goal was to demonstrate the inviolability of Tokyo’s position to return the Kuril Islands – Kunashir, Iturup, Shikotan, and the Habomai group of islands under the sovereignty of Japan.

For the return of the islands held by Russia at the rally, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida spoke out:

“It is completely unacceptable that the Northern Territories have yet to be returned since the Soviet Union’s illegal occupation of them 77 years ago,” the statement said at the rally.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks in Tokyo on Feb. 7, 2023, during a rally seeking the return of four Russian-held, Japanese-claimed islets off Hokkaido, known as the Northern Territories in Japan and the Southern Kurils in Russia. (Kyodo)

On February 7, 1855, Japan and Russia agreed on trade, navigation, and delimitation of borders, according to which these islands belong to Japanese territory.

Because of these disputed territories, Russia and Japan never signed a peace agreement after the end of World War II.

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