Most Japanese favor a more flexible approach Tokyo to the solution of the territorial dispute with Russia over the Southern Kuriles. At the same time, a quarter of citizens support the official position of the government, which insists on membership of the four Japanese Kuril Islands.

Talking about this published on Monday the results of a nationwide poll conducted by telephone on 5 and 6 November, the newspaper Mainichi Shimbun. Only 25% of respondents supported the official position of the government of Japan, which is ready to sign a peace Treaty with Russia only after the recognition of the sovereignty of Tokyo, in all parts of the South Kuril Islands. While 57% of respondents believe that “we need a flexible way to approach this problem, not clinging to all four Islands”, reports TASS survey results.

Over the weekend it became known that Japan will help Russia to improve the Voronezh in the framework of the pilot project on creation of a new urban environment. Japanese Minister of cooperation with Russia in the field of Economics Hiroshige Seko said that Tokyo is preparing a package of initiatives to intensify cooperation with Moscow for the upcoming visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Japan. “The Japanese are pinning great hopes on this visit, the first official visit of the Russian President to Japan in 11 years,” – said the head of Department.

The Chairman of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko during a recent visit to Japan, said on 1 November that “Russia’s sovereignty over the Kuril Islands is indisputable and revision and can not be questioned”. According to her, “no negotiations on the transfer of two or all of the Islands is not, because there is no reason”.

Lately in the press there are publications about the readiness of Tokyo to reconsider its position on the Kuril Islands. While the Japanese authorities whenever refute the media reports and claimed that the peace Treaty with Russia can still be concluded only on the basis of the decision of the question of the ownership of all four southern Kuril Islands.

So, in mid-October, the Nikkei newspaper reported that Japan’s government plans to offer Russia the option of joint control of the Kuril Islands as a step to final resolution of long-standing territorial dispute. Tokyo denied this information.

In the beginning of October, the foreign Ministry of Japan stated that maybe the discussion of a plan to “return two Islands – Habomai and Shikotan” in the framework of negotiations on the territorial dispute with Russia. On this scenario, in September the newspaper Yomiuri, but then in Japanese depodesta this information denied.

In addition, in early October, Japanese media reported that the country hopes to cooperate with Russia in the field of medicine to improve the relationship. Japan, according to the world health organization, is a world leader in life expectancy.

Leaks appear in the press on the eve of the December visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Japan for talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. In early September, the two leaders met at the Eastern economic forum. The Japanese delegation to the WEF has become the most numerous among the foreign ones. During the meeting, Putin and Abe agreedthat the Russian President will arrive in Japan on 15 December 2016. It is expected that during this visit will move forward the negotiations on the Kuril Islands and conclude a peace agreement.

Ahead of the meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister at the WEF Putin in an interview with Bloomberg stated intention to find a solution to the Kuril Islands. However, he once again stressed that “we do not sell territories.”

Japanese Prime Minister Abe announced a “new approach” to the problem of the Kuril Islands during the talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi in may 2016. He also proposed a comprehensive program of cooperation with Moscow.

Owned by Japan, the Kuril Islands were incorporated into the Soviet Union after the end of world war II and victory over Japan. Since then, Tokyo disputes ownership of the southern Islands of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and group of Islands Habomai. In 1956, signed a joint Declaration ending the state of war between the USSR and Japan, but a peace Treaty was never signed.

If this Declaration is written that the Soviet Union agrees to convey to the Japanese side Shikotan and Habomai ridge, but only after the conclusion of a peace Treaty between the two countries, which is still there.

Most Japanese think it is possible to resolve the dispute with Russia over Kuril Islands, “not clinging to all four Islands” 07.11.2016

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