News / Asia

Japan Pledges to Solve Territorial Dispute with Russia

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers his speech during a national rally marking the Northern Territories Day in Tokyo, Feb. 7, 2013.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers his speech during a national rally marking the Northern Territories Day in Tokyo, Feb. 7, 2013.
Japan says two Russian fighter jets briefly entered Japanese airspace near the northern island of Hokkaido on Thursday, prompting Japan's air force to scramble fighter jets in response.  Tokyo lodged a protest with Moscow but Russia has denied that its jets had entered Japanese airspace.  The incident comes amid a 60-year old feud between the two countries over northern territories. Japan's prime minister is now seeking a solution to the dispute.

 
The Japanese prime minister, who has taken an assertive stance on disputed territories since returning to office in late December, pledged Thursday to resolve a lingering islands dispute with Russia.

The decades-old impasse has meant the two countries have technically remained in a state of war since 1945.

Japan claims four islands in the northwestern Pacific. The closest is just several kilometers from the northernmost point of Hokkaido (Japan) and some 1,000 kilometers to the south of Kamchatka peninsula on the Russian mainland.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke briefly to thousands of people at an annual rally in Tokyo dedicated to the return of the islands.

Abe says negotiations with Moscow are ongoing with the aim of settling the ownership question so a peace treaty can be signed with Russia. He expresses “strong hope” progress will be made and the dispute can finally be resolved.

The Soviet military invaded the southern part of Sakhalin and the Kuril islands within days of declaring war against Japan in August of 1945. Japan surrendered on August 15, bringing to an end the Second World War. The Japanese civilians living on the islands were expelled.

Japan has since contended that Soviet troops continued the August 1945 offensive against its forces even after the Imperial Japanese Army surrendered.

Japan says the unresolved territorial issue still prevents it from concluding a peace treaty with Russia.

Japan had been awarded a portion of Sakhalin as part of the Treaty of Portsmouth in 1905 after Japanese forces won a seven-month war with Russia.

Japan began colonizing the Kuril islands in the late 19th century. The ongoing dispute involves four of the chain's 18 islands.

Russia has been strengthening its military presence in the Kurils in recent years and visits by Russian leaders to the disputed islands have prompted strong criticism from Tokyo.

Moscow considers the islands claimed by Japan to be an integral part of the Russian Federation.

The Russians have proposed joint use of the disputed territory, which has potentially lucrative onshore and offshore mineral resources.

Leaders of both countries, in recent years, have jointly expressed a desire to solve the dispute through talks.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

You May Like

Photogallery Strong Words Start, May End, S. African Xenophobic Attacks

President Jacob Zuma publicly condemned rise in attacks on foreign nationals but critics say leadership has been less than welcoming to foreign residents More

Video Family Waits to Hear Charges Against Reporter Jailed in Iran

Reports in Iran say Jason Rezaian has been charged with espionage, but brother tells VOA indictment has not been made public More

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Action to Stabilize Libya

Amnesty International says multinational concerted humanitarian effort must be enacted to address crisis; decrepit boats continue to bring thousands of new arrivals daily More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jack Off from: Mehoff,Ca 31702
February 08, 2013 4:56 AM
It is difficult to fathom...nothing better to do than ramp up military tensions...what complete idiots...You make my taxes go up in America where we crush all that is evil.....I cannot imagine Nazi Germany wielding the power of America....has at its fingertips.
We could conquer the world and we don't want it....someday another hitler will come and your last vestige of freedom will be how could they let this happen...The USA must assemble world intellects and decide how to proceed. War must end. Famine must end. All kill themselves regardless of stature. We should stand united in building a better world....someone needs to get a plan to get this next generation motivated...or we fall to petty jealousy's wants and needs that are not satosfied if they d not come freely and naturally...love JoeG

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs