The Kuril Islands dispute during WW2 (from 1939 to 1945)

Context: Originally inhibited by the Ainu people, the Kuril Archipelago is a chain of islands between Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula and Japan’s Island of Hokkaido. 

WW2 chronology :

April 13, 1941– After the outbreak of the WW2, Japan and Russia signed a Neutrality Pact in Moscow which would encompass mutual respect for each other’s territory and neutrality in the event of an attack by one or more power (puppet state of Manchukuo in Chinese province Manchuria for Japan and Mongolia for Russia). Every five years the neutrality pact would be reviewed and renewed if neither signatory gave notice of cancellation during the fifth year.

November 22, 1941– The Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku ordered the meeting of the Imperial Japanese Navy Strike force for the attack on Pearl Harbor in Etorofu Island’s Hitokappu Bay. The territory was chosen for its sparse population, lack of foreigners, and constant fog coverage. 

November 26, 1941– The Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku ordered the move to Hawaii. The Japanese fleet included six aircraft carriers, 2 battleships, 3 cruisers and 11 destroyers. 

July 10, 1943– First bombardment against the Shumshu and Paramushir Japanese bases by American forces occurred.

November 27, 1943 – Joint Cairo Declarationsigned by the United States, Great Britain, and the Republic of China which reaffirmed the principle of no territorial expansion. It did not include Soviet Union or Japan. Moreover, Japanese sovereignty of the disputed islands was peacefully and mutually established by the 1855 Treaty of Shimoda.  

1944 – Japan garrison increased from 8,000 in 1943 to 41,000 in 1944. Japan also maintained more than 400 aircrafts in Kurils and Hokkaido area in anticipation of a possible American invasion via Alaska.

February 11, 1945 – Roosevelt, Churchill, and Josef Stalin signed the secret Yalta Agreement. The Yalta Declarationlooked at a joint plan of action against Japan. It states that the Soviet Union would enter the war against Japan and receive the Kuril Islands and Sakhalin’s southern half in exchange. The US later states that it had not agreed for the Kuril Islands to be handed over to the Soviets. 

The significance of the Yalta Agreement cannot be overstated. However, it was a statement between three leaders in 1945; it has no legal binding on Japan.

April 5, 1945– The Soviet Union announced the denunciation of the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact of 1941 that was to stay in force until April 1946. 

July 26, 1945 – Postdam Declarationcalled for the surrender of all Japanese armed force during WW2. It limited Japan territorial sovereignty to the four main islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku.

August 6, 1945– The United States struck Hiroshima with the first atomic bomb. 

August 8, 1945 – The Soviet Union issued an announcement that accepted the proposition of the Potsdam Declaration and formally declared war with Japan, effective the following day. 

August 9, 1945 – The Soviet Army kicked off a military campaign in the Far East. The United States dropped the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki.

August 15, 1945 – Japanese Empire unconditionally surrendered to the allies. It announced the acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration, through which the Cairo Declaration became legally binding upon Japan. 

August 18, to September 1, 1945 – Kuril landing Operation. Soviet troops take Sakhalin and the Kurils back from Japan. More than 1,500 Soviet and 1,000 Japanese troops are killed. Japan’s troops in the southern Kurils surrender without battle.

September 2, 1945 – Following its defeat, Tokyo and Allied forcesassembled aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay to sign the Japanese Instrument of Surrender recognizing the terms of the Postdam Declaration. Thisended World War II.

Main Sources/ Bibliography:

https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a561313.pdf

http://repository.enu.kz/bitstream/handle/123456789/6292/DISPUTE%20-BETWEEN.pdf

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Kuril_Islands

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/08865655.2011.686970?needAccess=true

Ainu people officially recognised as “indigenous”

– February 15th, 2019

“It is the first step for ensuring equality under the law”

Mikiko Maruko, representative for a group of Ainu people in eastern Japan

The government approved a bill on Friday to recognize the country’s ethnic Ainu minority as an “indigenous” people for the first time, after decades of discrimination against the group. The Ainu people — many of whom live in northern Hokkaido — have long suffered the effects of a policy of forced assimilation. While discrimination has receded gradually, income and education gaps with the rest of Japan persist. “It is important to protect the honor and dignity of the Ainu people and to hand those down to the next generation to realize a vibrant society with diverse values,” top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told reporters. “Today we made a Cabinet decision on a bill to proceed with policies to preserve the Ainu people’s pride.” The bill is the first to recognize the Ainu as “indigenous people” and calls for the government to make “forward-looking policies,” including measures to support communities and boost local economies and tourism. Ainu have lived for centuries on Japan’s northernmost main island of Hokkaido, as well as nearby areas including Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands. They struggled to pass down their language and culture after the Japanese government implemented an assimilation policy beginning in the Meiji Era (1868-1912), as Japan was modernizing. The Ainu traditionally observed an animist faith, with men wearing full beards and women adorning themselves with facial tattoos before marriage. But like many indigenous people around the world, most of Japan’s Ainu have lost touch with their traditional lifestyle after decades of forced assimilation. The Ainu population is estimated to be at least 12,300, according to a 2017 survey, but the real figure is unknown as many have integrated into mainstream society and some have hidden their cultural roots. In 1997, a law was enacted aimed at preserving Ainu culture and guaranteeing their human rights, about 100 years after the government introduced the assimilation policy. It was the first legislation acknowledging the existence of an ethnic minority in Japan, but stopped short of saying the Ainu are indigenous. The new bill states its purpose is to “realize a society where the Ainu people can live with their ethnic pride, which will be respected” by others. The government will subsidize projects aimed at promoting Ainu culture and organized by local municipalities. The law would also simplify procedures for Ainu to get permission from authorities to collect timber from national forests for their rituals, and to catch salmon in rivers in a traditional way. In addition to the new law, the central government also plans to open a national Ainu museum and park in the Hokkaido town of Shiraoi in April 2020. In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a declaration on the rights of indigenous people, asking each country to take legislative steps to protect their rights. Japan was among the countries that supported the declaration.

“It is a major step forward on policies towards the Ainu people”

Masashi Nagaura, Chief of the Ainu Policy Bureau of the Hokkaido Prefectural Government

Important Development in the Kuril Islands dispute (since 1993 until present)

The Soviet side officially recognized the existence of the problem when Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev had paid an official visit to Japan.

October 13, 1993– the Tokyo Declaration on Russian-Japanese Relations

The existence of the problem was later committed to paper during Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s visit to Japan. The declaration states that the sides held talks on the issue of the ownership of the Islands of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai and agreed to continue talks with the aim of signing a peace treaty as soon as possible, based on historical and legal facts and bilateral documents.

November 1997– Boris Yeltsin and then Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto agreed to spare no effort to sign a peace treaty by 2000.

January 1998– a special commission co-chaired by the two countries’ top diplomats was set up

November 1998– Yeltsin laid out his vision of a possible solution to the Kuril Islands question

During a Moscow visit by then Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, Yeltsin suggested that conditions be created for “joint economic and other activities” on the southern Kuril Islands and a separate agreement be signed on the territorial problem once a peace treaty was reached. The visit yielded a declaration where the sides reiterated their commitment to spare no effort to finally sign the sought-after peace treaty by 2000.

September 5, 2000 – Russian President Vladimir Putin and then Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori signed a joint statement in Tokyo

[…] on the peace treaty matter to express their commitment to settling the issue of the ownership of the Islands of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai based on all the existing agreements, including the Tokyo and Moscow declarations.

March 25, 2001– The same commitment was reflected in another statement issued after their talks in Irkutsk

January 10, 2003– Yet another joint statement on that matter was signed during then Japanese Prime Minister Juinchiro Koizumi’s visit to Russia

April 29, 2013– After Putin’s talks with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the sides passed a joint statement where they agreed that the absence of a peace treaty between Russia and Japan for 67 years since the end of World War II was abnormal

Two rounds of consultations on the peace treaty problem were held in Moscow and Tokyo in August 2013and January 2014

May 2014– The Japanese government suspended these consultations following the dramatic developments in Ukraine

May 2016– Putin and Abe agreed that it was necessary to develop a constructive dialogue, without emotional outbursts and public rhetoric

December 2016– The two leaders announced their readiness to begin joint economic activities on the disputed islands

February 2017– A council for joint economic activities on the South Kuril Islands was set up in Japan

September 12, 2018– Addressing the Eastern Economic Forum Russian President Vladimir 

Putin came out with an initiative to sign a peace treaty with Japan without any preliminary conditions by the year’s end

November 14, 2018– At a meeting in Singapore, Putin and Abe agreed to step up the peace treaty talks on the basis on the 1956 declaration on ending the state of war

Japan’s Asahi said back then that Abe had pledged that if some of the islands were handed over to Japan, it would not deploy any US bases on them.

December 1-2, 2018– The two leaders once again agreed to intensify the peace treaty talks at their meeting on the side-lines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires

January 14, 2019– The first round of consultation between the two countries’ top and senior diplomats was held

The parties agreed to look at new projects for joint economic activities on the Kuril Islands. However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after the talks that Moscow was not going to discuss its sovereignty over the southern Kuril Islands. Two days later, he pointed out that Japan’s territorial claims run counter to the country’s liabilities under the United Nations Charter, which says that the outcome of World War II is not subject to review.

January 22, 2019– Russian President Vladimir Putin met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Moscow to discuss, among other issues, the resolution of a longstanding territorial dispute over the status of the Kuril Islands

The two sides remain far away from a resolution as there is little overlap still between what Tokyo might accept and what Russia would tolerate. Beyond sovereignty concerns, the Russian side continues to see the Kuril Islands in highly securitized terms. The four disputed islands, which mark the westernmost links along the Kuril chain on the southern end of the Sea of Okhotsk, have strategic value for Moscow. Furthermore, Japan, as a U.S. treaty ally, has maintained a right to allow the stationing of U.S. forces and assets on its territory as it sees fight within the alliance framework. For Russia, the possibility of U.S. forces or assets ending up on the Kuril Islandsis unacceptable. Putin gave a nod to the issue of Russian public opinion around a possible resolution of the longstanding dispute, saying that a territorial handover would require the backing of the publicAn overwhelming majority of Russians continue to oppose a handover of the territories. Russia’s response to this proposal has been to demand that Japan first recognize Russian sovereignty over all four disputed islands as one of the outcomes of the Second World War. The basis for Japan’s position is the 1956 joint declaration between it and the Soviet Union, which outlines a plan to transfer two of the islands after the conclusion of a peace treaty between the two countries. That peace treaty has never been concluded and is the subject of current negotiations. The resolution of the dispute is also seen in Japan as an opportunity to better align Tokyo and Moscow politically and economically, reducing the appeal of Chinese investment in Russia. Putin’s comments were a reminder that Japan cannot simply expect to sign a peace treaty and immediately take possession of Shikotan and Habomai. Instead, several conditions would have to be fulfilled. This is only logical since, if Moscow is to concede territory that it has held for 73 years and that is home to 3,000 Russian citizens, it will require something in return. The most basic condition would be the requirement for Japan to accept that the territorial dispute has been permanently resolved. Some Japanese politicians imagine that Japan could secure the transfer of Shikotan and Habomai, then continue negotiations about the status of Etorofu and Kunashiri. This is entirely unrealistic since Russia would hardly agree to give up two islands only to leave itself still embroiled in a territorial dispute. Instead, Japan would need to explicitly recognize Russian sovereignty over Etorofu and Kunashiri. The “alpha” of the deal would come, not in the form of continued talks, but in an agreement that would grant Japanese citizens visa-free access to the larger islands, as well as joint economic projects of the type already under discussionThe second condition would be the need to allay Russia’s concern that U.S. forces could be stationed on Shikotan and Habomai. Since an oral commitment would not be judged sufficient, Japan would need to exclude the two islands from the Japan-U.S. security treaty, which grants the United States basing rights on Japanese territory. Each of these conditions is likely to prove controversial. To begin with, the Japanese public, which is accustomed to being told that all four islands are “inherent” Japanese territory, would struggle to accept the government’s recognition of Russian sovereignty over Etorofu and Kunashiri. Additionally, placing limits on the Japan-U.S. security treaty comes with risks. Most fundamentally, it would introduce a source of tension with Japan’s major ally. It could also have implications for the Senkaku Islands. The U.S. does not officially recognize Japanese sovereignty over the Senkakus, which are also claimed by China, but the Japan-U.S. security treaty is nonetheless deemed to apply on the basis that all Japanese-administered territory is covered. By defining Shikotan and Habomai as territory that is under Japanese administration yet excluded from the security treaty, Japan would be endangering that principle. Overall, when the Abe administration assesses these conditions, it may need to accept that the price of even a two-island deal is too high to pay.

7th of Feburary Session Summary

Last session we each covered a separate time period within the history of the dispute. The main documents among the time periods covered were: 

  • The Treaty of Shimoda (1855), The Treaty of St. Petersburg (1975) 
  • The Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Act (1942), The Yalta Conference (1945) 
  • The Treaty of San Francisco (1951), The Soviet-Japanese Declaration (1956) 
  • The Tokyo Declaration (1993), Statements from numerous Russia/Japan talks (1993-2019) 

We decided our potential research question could focus on the changing political factors that have driven the conflict for 150 years. We could illustrate this by comparing the differences between in a few key documents, particularly how they reflect wider political motives. A rough research proposal is: 

“How are the involved states political motives reflected in the documents?” 

The Kuril Islands dispute has been influenced by a variety of factors including economic motives, military strategies geogstrategies, party politics and national identities. How these motives are expressed within the different documents would make an interesting point of comparison. 

For next week we will continue to study our time periods. Moving from a broad historical summary to a closer textual analysis of the documents we covered.  

The current research question remains broad. Hopefully next week we’ll narrow it down and determine which two/three documents we want to focus on. 

 

Side note: I found some good sources if anyone’s interested. A list of claims from both countries and an infographic (if it comes out low quality the links HD).   

 

https://www.graphicnews.com/en/pages/34865/RUSSIA-JAPAN-Kuril-Island-talks

 

 

 

Japan Claims  Russia Claims 
  1. The Treaties of Shimoda (1855) and St. Petersburg (1875) confirmed that Kunashiri, Etorofu, Shikotan, and the Habomai Islands are inherent Japanese territories.  
  2. The Cairo Declaration (1943) and Potsdam Declaration (1945) stated that the Allies (including the USSR) were not fighting for territorial gain, so the Soviet seizure of the Northern Territories was illegitimate.  
  3. The Yalta agreement (1945), which gave the islands to the Soviets to violate the neutrality treaty with Japan, which was still valid, was an illegitimate secret agreement among the Allies (Soviets, Americans, and British) to which Japan was not a party.  
  4. The Northern Territories are not part of the Kuriles, which Japan gave up in the San Francisco Peace Treaty (1951). Moscow is, in any case, not entitled to pursue claims under the San Francisco Peace Treaty because it failed to sign it.  
  5. Moscow agreed to the return of Shikotan and the Habomai Islands in the Japan-Soviet joint declaration (1956). This declaration was ratified by both countries and was registered with the United Nations as an international agreement.  

 

 

  1.  The treaties of 1855 and 1875 lost their validity as a consequence of the Russo-Japanese War (1904) and the Potsmouth Treaty (1905).  
  2. The Cairo Declaration, Yalta Agreement, and Potsdam Declaration represent the final solution to the territorial issues.  
  3. Japan started the war— and lost. It must therefore accept the consequences of defeat.  
  4. In signing the San Francisco peace treaty, Japan gave up its claim to the Kuriles.  
  5. The Kuriles do include the disputed islands. Russia inherited possession of the islands from the former Soviet Union, as its successor state. 

Brunet-Jailly, Emmanuel. Border Disputes: A Global Encyclopedia [3 volumes]: A Global Encyclopedia (pp. 295-296). ABC-CLIO. Kindle Edition.  

30th January 2019 – Summary of the session

Based on Jozef previous post, we decided to work on the Kuril Island by focusing on the historical, geographical and political part. We will also look at our own major and how they related to the Island issues.

We divided the work for next week into 4 parts: pre WW2; WW2; the Cold War and the present which we will all work on next week. In each historical period, we will determine which treaties were most useful in order to understand the border conflict (Treaty of Shimoda – 1855; Treaty of St Petersburg…).

We will also think about with research questions and primary readings. In relation to the theme of document, we discussed why these treaties/pacts repeatedly failed to resolve the dispute. Possibly our research question could focus on why, in this case, the legitimacy of the documents aren’t held by both sides.

Passports

We have two Politics majors, a Geography major and a History major.

We began by thinking about the strength, or weakness, of evidence for accepted Historical “truths”, then more generally, the epistemic constraints involved in studying the past.
We then discussed the Peace of Westphalia of 1648; a series of treatises that established peace in Europe. It is taken to represent the first international acknowledgement of the principle of state sovereignty.
It led us to the topic of Eurpoean conflicts and the resulting border changes and negotiations. We then discussed theories of the border and the nature of international boundaries.

Continue reading

The Kuril Islands

Hey guys,

I was thinking about examples for our project and I came across this interesting case study, it’s about borders and it has a different view on Document. So far, we have been thinking about documents which are there and their importance, whereas in this case it’s the opposite – there isn’t final document to solve this dispute. Hence, we can discuss how the absence of document influence the legitimacy of borders. Furthermore, it’s historical example, because it dates back to the end of World War II, but it’s also very recent, because there was a summit about this issue just last week. There have been plenty of talk and many documents, but none of them solved the problem. It’s a long-lasting dispute and it’s still not solved…

Here’s a summary about the Kuril Islands:

The Kuril Archipelago is a chain of islands between Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula and Japan’s Island of Hokkaido. Originally, they were inhibited by the Ainu people.On February 7, 1855, Russia and Japan signed the so-called Treaty of Shimoda, under which the Islands of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and the Lesser Kuril Ridge went over to Japan, while the northern part of the Kuril Islands remained under Russia’s control.The status of Sakhalin was not determined, and the island was proclaimed as a joint possession. Such duality of power triggered conflicts between Russian and Japanese merchants and sailors. The 1875 Treaty of St. Petersburg on territories exchanges resolved the stalemate. Under the accord, Russia handed over all the Kuril Islands to Japan, while Tokyo ceded control of Sakhalin to the Russian Empire.

When World War II in Europe was drawing to a close, the leaders of the anti-Hitler coalition, who gathered for a conference in Yalta in February 1945, looked at a joint plan of action against Japan. They also decided that following Japan’s defeat all of the Kuril Islands would go over to the Soviet Union (the Far Eastern Agreement of February 11, 1945). On April 5, 1945, the Soviet Union announced the denunciation of the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact of 1941 that was to stay in force until April 1946. On August 9, 1945, the Soviet Army kicked off a military campaign in the Far East. All of the Kuril Islands were liberated in the Kuril landing operation of August 18-September 1, 1945. Following its defeat, Tokyo signed the Japanese Instrument of Surrender on September 2, 1945, recognizing the terms of the Potsdam Declaration dated July 26, 1945. Japanese sovereignty over the Islands of Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku and Hokkaido, as well as the lesser islands of the Japanese Archipelago was restricted (by the allies’ decision). All of the Kuril Islands were incorporated into the Soviet Union by a decree of the Presidium of the USSR’s Supreme Soviet (February 2, 1946). A larger part of the Japanese-speaking population was deported to Hokkaido within the three following years.

Japan, which had been occupied by US forces, signed a peace treaty with the allied powers at an international conference in San Francisco in September 1951. Under the accord, signed by Japan and 48 nations of the anti-Hitler coalition, Tokyo renounced “all right, title and claim to the Kuril Islands.” The document did not specify however, which state these territories were to be transferred to. However, because a number of countries that had suffered from Japanese aggression (primarily, China) had not been invited to the conference, the Soviet delegation refused to sign this treaty, saying it was illegitimate.

In the early 1950s, the Soviet Union and Japan held consultations in a bid to reach a peace treaty. A joint declaration on ending the state of war was signed by the two countries in Moscow on October 19, 1956. Both countries resumed diplomatic and other relations. In Article 9 of the document, the Soviet Union committed to paper its readiness to hand over Shikotan, and the small uninhibited Habomai islands to Japan as a gesture of goodwill after the peace treaty was to have been ultimately signed. The declaration was ratified by the two countries’ parliaments on December 8, 1956. However, following Japan’s signing a security treaty with the United States in 1960, the former 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 soil.

During the Cold War, the territorial dispute was not officially recognized by Moscow while Tokyo was sticking to the principle of indivisibility of politics and economics, refusing large-scale trade-and-economic cooperation with the Soviet Union until it made concessions on the Kuril Island’s territorial dispute. The Soviet side officially recognized the existence of the problem when Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev had paid an official visit to Japan.The existence of the problem was later committed to paper in the Tokyo Declaration on Russian-Japanese Relations that was signed on October 13, 1993 during Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s visit to Japan. The declaration states that the sides held talks on the issue of the ownership of the Islands of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai and agreed to continue talks with the aim of signing a peace treaty as soon as possible, based on historical and legal facts and bilateral documents. In November 1997, Boris Yeltsin and then Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto agreed to spare no effort to sign a peace treaty by 2000. A special commission co-chaired by the two countries’ top diplomats was set up in January 1998. During a Moscow visit by then Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi in November 1998, Yeltsin laid out his vision of a possible solution to the Kuril Islands question. He suggested that conditions be created for “joint economic and other activities” on the southern Kuril Islands and a separate agreement be signed on the territorial problem once a peace treaty was reached. The visit yielded a declaration where the sides reiterated their commitment to spare no effort to finally sign the sought-after peace treaty by 2000.

On September 5, 2000, Russian President Vladimir Putin and then Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori signed a joint statement in Tokyo on the peace treaty matter to express their commitment to settling the issue of the ownership of the Islands of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai based on all the existing agreements, including the Tokyo and Moscow declarations. The same commitment was reflected in another statement issued after their talks on March 25, 2001, in Irkutsk. Yet another joint statement on that matter was signed on January 10, 2003, during then Japanese Prime Minister Juinchiro Koizumi’s visit to Russia. After Putin’s talks with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on April 29, 2013, the sides passed a joint statement where they agreed that the absence of a peace treaty between Russia and Japan for 67 years since the end of World War II was abnormal. Two rounds of consultations on the peace treaty problem were held in Moscow and Tokyo in August 2013 and January 2014. However, the Japanese government suspended these consultations in May 2014, following the dramatic developments in Ukraine. In May 2016, Putin and Abe agreed that it was necessary to develop a constructive dialogue, without emotional outbursts and public rhetoric. In December 2016, the two leaders announced their readiness to begin joint economic activities on the disputed islands. A council for joint economic activities on the South Kuril Islands was set up in Japan in February 2017.

Addressing the Eastern Economic Forum on September 12, 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin came out with an initiative to sign a peace treaty with Japan without any preliminary conditions by the year’s end. At a meeting in Singapore on November 14, 2018, Putin and Abe agreed to step up the peace treaty talks on the basis on the 1956 declaration on ending the state of war. Japan’s Asahi said back then that Abe had pledged that if some of the islands were handed over to Japan, it would not deploy any US bases on them. The two leaders once again agreed to intensify the peace treaty talks at their meeting on the side-lines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires on December 1-2, 2018. The first round of consultation between the two countries’ top and senior diplomats was held on January 14, 2019. The parties agreed to look at new projects for joint economic activities on the Kuril Islands. However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after the talks that Moscow was not going to discuss its sovereignty over the southern Kuril Islands. Two days later, he pointed out that Japan’s territorial claims run counter to the country’s liabilities under the United Nations Charter, which says that the outcome of World War II is not subject to review.

There is a very useful book called The Kuril Islands: Russo-Japanese Frontier in the Pacific, by John Jason Stephan (it can be found in Maughan Library).

 

Let me know what you think.