Fumio Kishida, Japan’s prime minister, said that southern Kuril Islands are a sovereign part of his country, and not part of Russia, which has controlled the group of islands since 1945.
Speaking in the Diet earlier this week, Kishida told lawmakers the Kuril Islands are “original territories of Japan”.
The islands have been a point of controversy between Japan and the Russia for decades. Moscow took control of the islands after World War II in 1945.
In recent years, the Japanese government had refrained from referring to the islands as its “original territories” in order to avoid upsetting the Russian government.
However, following the global anti-Moscow sentiment since the invasion of Ukraine, the Japanese government has reinstated its historic claim on the silands.
“The Northern Territories belong to Japan. They are the territory on which Japan has sovereignty,” Kishida said.
In fact, on 29 February, on the second day of the Russian invasion, Japan’s foreign minister, Hideki Uyama, even went so far to say that Russia had “occupied” the southern part of the Kuril Islands, thereby violating international law.