Start Asia Russian-Japanese peace treaty to promote prosperity in Asia — Japanese premier

Russian-Japanese peace treaty to promote prosperity in Asia — Japanese premier


Shikotan Island, part of the Kuril archipelago, and a group of small islands of Habomai should be demilitarized in case of their handover to Tokyo, which needs to provide guarantees that US troops won’t be deployed there, a renowned Japanese politician Muneo Suzuki, who is involved in developing Russian-Japanese relations, said on Wednesday.

„The border between Russia and Japan after the conclusion of a peace treaty should be drawn so that the islands of Iturup and Kunashir should remain under Moscow’s sovereignty, while Tokyo will have sovereignty over Shikotan and Habomai. Talks will be held on handing over Shikotan and Habomai to Japan after a peace treaty is signed, and joint economic activity will be carried out in Iturup and Kunashir, including free travel to the islands. A sort of a special economic area will be created there with setting up maritime and air lines of communications,“ the politician, who consults Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the relations with Moscow, wrote in an article published by the Mainichi Shimbun.

The politician emphasized that Habomai and Shikotan should be demilitarized. „There are no US troops on the [northernmost Japanese] island of Hokkaido and there are no grounds to deploy them to Habomai and Shikotan. This will be an issue for the further talks between Japan and the US. I think the demilitarization of Habomai and Shikotan will become a key issue of our talks with Russia on a peace treaty.“

At the meeting in Singapore on November 14, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to intensify Russian-Japanese talks on concluding a peace treaty based on the Joint Declaration signed on October 19, 1956 on ceasing the state of war. The two countries resumed diplomatic and other relations, but no peace treaty has been signed so far.

Under Article 9 of the declaration, the Soviet Union agreed to hand over Shikotan and Habomai as a gesture of good will after the peace treaty is ultimately signed. The declaration was ratified by the two countries’ parliaments in December 1956.

However in response to Japan’s signing a security treaty with the United States in 1960, the Soviet Union revoked its liabilities concerning the transfer of the islands. The Soviet government said back then that the islands would be handed over to Japan only when all foreign forces were withdrawn from its territory.
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Sunday that returning to the 1956 Declaration format does not mean an automatic handover of Russian territories to Japan. According to him, the sides will reach a compromise, which won’t run counter to the both countries’ national interests.