Japanese again demand return of Kurils
An action for return of Kurils, which Japanese call "the northern territories" of their country, is taking place in Tokyo. Cars with loudspeakers, which are broadcasting "Return the northern territories!" are driving around the capital of Japan. The action is timed to negotiations of the ministers of foreign affairs of Russia and Japan Sergey Lavrov and Fumio Kishida. During the meeting today the parties intend to discuss the issue of concluding a peace treaty as well as the prospects of cooperation. Besides bilateral meetings the head of the Russian diplomacy will participate in the meeting in format "2 plus 2" – of the ministers of foreign affairs and defense ministers of Russia and Japan.
Every trip of the Russian leaders to Kurils causes negative reaction in Tokyo because of Kuril territories dispute. Japanese authorities consider the islands of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan, and Khabomai to be their land. Tokyo refers to the bilateral treaty on trade and borders of 1855. In 2009 the higher chamber of Japanese parliament approved an amendment to the law On Special Measures for Forcing the Resolution of the Problem of the Northern Territories, in which it fixed the provision, according to which the four islands belonged to Japan. Every February rallies for the return of so-called northern territories are held throughout the country. The leaders of the country as well as the residents of the southern part of Kurils also participate in the event.
The Russian Federation maintains that the Southern Kurils became part of the USSR after the Great Patriotic War on February 2, 1946, and are internationally recognized uncontestable Russian dominion.
Kurils are not the only territory, which Japan has a claim to. In 2007 Japanese parliament passed The Main Law on the Sea, in which it proclaimed 7,000 small islands in the surrounding seas to be of vital importance for Japan, completely ignoring the fact that many of them belonged not to Japan, but to China, Korea, and Russia, and were located not at the shores of Japan but near the coasts of other countries.