Tokyo refuted that residents of Kuril Islands will be allowed to stay after returning islands to Japan


The official Tokyo refuted a message appeared in the press, saying that the Japanese government will allow Russian citizens currently living in the Kuril Islands to remain on the islands in the case of transferring the disputed territory to Japan.

An official meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be held in Vladivostok, during which it is expected that the territorial dispute is to be discussed.

The refutation was made by Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.

“We are aware of these reports, but they do not correspond to reality,” said the representative of the Japanese government.

Earlier on Thursday, September 1, newspaper Mainichi Simbun citing its sources reported the “new approach” to solving the territorial dispute with Russia, that was developed in Tokyo. The newspaper said the Japanese government will offer the residents of the South Kurils to stay on the islands, if they are transferred to Japan. The Prime Minister of Japan also talked about “a new approach” during his visit to Sochi, but the details remain unknown to the public.

For many decades Russia and Japan have been trying to work out a peace treaty, which is blocked by the territorial dispute over the South Kurils. After the Second World War and the defeat of Japan in it, all the Kuril Islands became part of the USSR. Tokyo disputes the ownership of four southern islands: Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan, and the Habomai group of islands. In 1956, a joint declaration was signed ending the state of war between the USSR and Japan, but a peace agreement has still not been signed.