Jiji Press MOSCOW (Jiji Press) — Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in an interview with the country’s state-run television network has reiterated Moscow’s position on the northern territories.
Moscow came to control the islands as a result of World War II, and Tokyo needs to acknowledge this, he said. The Foreign Ministry on Sunday revealed the minister’s comments made in the interview.
The four islands, known as Etorofu, the Habomais, Kunashiri and Shikotan, and collectively as the northern territories in Japan, were seized by the former Soviet Union from Japan at the end of World War II.
They are located off Hokkaido.
Lavrov said that Russia wants to conclude a peace treaty with Japan, referring to the 1956 Soviet Union-Japan joint declaration stipulating that Moscow hand over the Habomais and Shikotan to Japan after the conclusion of a peace treaty between the two sides.
Lavrov also noted that progress has been made in discussions between Russia and Japan on proposed joint economic activities on and around the four islands.
He said that Japan-U.S. relations are a key factor in Russia’s negotiations with Japan on a bilateral peace treaty.
The United States is allowed to set up a military base in a random area in Japan under the two countries’ security treaty, and this issue has become the focus in the Russia-Japan negotiations, he said.