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The Ainu and the Pandemic of Japanese Territorial Claims

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Not only has the coronavirus pandemic become worse in Japan lately, but so have the new government’s territorial claims. As soon as Fumio Kishida, Japan’s new Prime Minister, took office in October, he hastened to announce a new round of the land of the rising sun’s territorial claims. As regional media outlets stress, Tokyo has become increasingly assertive in demonstrating competing claims to all of its closest territorial neighbors, including the governments of Russia, North Korea and Taiwan.

According to new Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Russia needs to return all four islands of the Greater Kuril Chain to Japan. Shinzo Abe’s plan, which envisaged the return of only two, Shikotan and Habomai, is considered unrealistic by the new prime minister. Nor is he persuaded that these conditions lie at the heart of the declaration accepted by both sides in 1956.

In his statements, the new prime minister repeatedly referred to Japanese public opinion, pointing out that most Japanese, according to polls, did not support Abe’s “two-plus-alpha” deal. At the same time, Kishida admitted that economic ties with Russia were important but insisted that all projects in the Kuril Islands should not be under Moscow’s jurisdiction.

In its “Kuril claims,” Tokyo has not tired of sending Moscow its notes of protest in case of any Russian activity in the Kuril Islands, which belong to it by right after World War II, whether it be the official visits from Russian authorities, Moscow’s intensified economic activities there, or training maneuvers of the Russian army amid the recent escalation of provocative actions of........

© New Eastern Outlook

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