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In 1956, the USSR and Japan signed a Joint Declaration, in which Moscow agreed to consider the possibility of transferring the islands of the Kuril Chain - Habomai and Shikotan after the conclusion of a peace treaty, while the fate of Kunashir and Iturup was not affected. The Soviet leadership expected that the agreement would put an end to the dispute. Japan, in turn, saw in it only a part of problem solution. Subsequent negotiations did not lead to anything. In November 2018, after a meeting of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and the Prime Minister of Japan Shindzo Abe in Singapore the two parties announced acceleration of the negotiation process on the peace treaty and the Kuril Islands. And the agreement of 1956 was taken as a basis. The statement of the Russian President in 2018 was taken by the Japanese as an agreement to make territorial concessions, and Tokyo began to behave as if the issue of transferring the islands was almost resolved. S. Abe even generously promised that the Russians that were living on the Southern Kuril Islands would not be evicted from there, in the event of the transferring the islands to Japan. Japan hoped to reach certain agreements during the G-20 summit held at the end of June 2019 in the Japanese city of Osaka. However, Russia refused to discuss the transfer of the two Kuril Islands to the Japanese side. In particular, Moscow fears an increase in the number of US troops in Japan as part of an alliance between Washington and Tokyo. Russia asked for concrete answers, as Japan intends to resolve Moscow’s concerns, but did not get any specifics. In this regard, the Russian side refused to negotiate on the two islands. Moreover, it was said that Japan should come out from under American influence, since Japan’s inability to act independently, without consulting with the United States, led in effect to zeroing of the Soviet Union’s proposal in 1956. Apparently, this time history repeats itself. At the same time, the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin noted that Moscow has not any plans to transfer the Kuril Islands, adding that « Russian flag on the islands will not be lowered». Furthermore, the Russian president stated that Moscow intends to develop the Far East in general and the southern Kuril Islands in particular. It should be noted that the Russian authorities and the president V. Putin always emphasize that the territorial identity of the Kuril Islands is not negotiable. In recent years, Russia has consistently increased its military presence on the islands, preparing the infrastructure for the deployment of military contingent. Moreover, the islands are building a road network and airfields, upgrading the energy supply system, developing the fish industry and tourism, and building telecommunications infrastructure. Thus, it would be weird to take these steps in anticipation of the transfer of the islands. Furthermore, the loss of the southern Kuril Islands will damage the defense system of the Russian Primorye and weaken Russia's defense capability as a whole.
As the fighting in Syria continues, the world is distracted from the situation around the islands in the APR. However, tensions and provocations against the Chinese side are still going on. I mean creation by the Japanese side of a special police department to deal with the Chinese, patrolling by the Americans of the ships, aircraft and even a missile destroyer near the disputed territories of Senkaku and Paracel Islands. Could this be planned attempts by the partners to put pressure on China?
As it is known, the Japanese deputy Hodaka Maruyama in his post on Twitter (https://twitter.com/maruyamahodaka/status/1167789509322235904) called for the return to Japan of disputed with South Korea islands of Takeshima by force. It should be recalled that these islands are also known as the islands of Dokdo or Liankur, and are currently under the jurisdiction of South Korea. This is the second time that he has proposed a forceful method for resolving territorial disputes. Earlier in May 2019, he proposed to seize Russia`s Kuril Islands. All these statements and claims are highly unacceptable and absurd. The sovereignty of the Russian and Korean islands was enshrined in international acts more than 70 years ago, and according to experts, the Japanese leadership should come to terms with the results of the war and accept them. While the South Korean government prefers only to send some protests to official Tokyo, Moscow makes it clear that Russia has no plans to transfer the islands to Japan, and that the country will continue the program on developing of the infrastructure of the Kuril Islands and their defense capabilities.