Japan rejects Russian claim on islands

28 September 2005 | 04:26 Code : 5900 Geoscience events
From the objective standpoint, the four northern islands belong to Japan, and

"From the objective standpoint, the four northern islands belong to Japan, and we will keep claiming our sovereignty over them," Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda told reporters Wednesday.

Putin on Tuesday ruled out any negotiations with Japan over the disputed islands, known as the Kuril Islands in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan.

"They are under sovereignty of the Russian Federation. This is reinforced by international law. This is a result of the Second World War. And on this issue we are not ready to discuss anything," Putin said.

Extensive negotiations between Moscow and Tokyo since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 have failed to resolve the 60-year dispute over the islands, which remains a major obstacle to improved relations between the two countries.

The volcanic isles lie between Russia's Kamchatka peninsula and the Japanese island of Hokkaido.

The Soviet army seized the islands, which had never previously belonged to Russia, after Japan's capitulation in World War II, and the dispute has kept Russia and Japan from ever signing a peace treaty formally ending hostilities.

Earlier this year, Putin had to scrap plans for a visit to Tokyo in February after a diplomatic dispute.

Russia offered to hand over two of the islands but Japan insisted on all four in return for a promise not to expel Russian inhabitants.

tags: QAZVIN

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