| 16 April 2024, Tuesday |

Japan Summons Russian Ambassador Over PM Mishustin’s Visit to Kuril Islands

Russian Prime Minister Mishustin arrived on the island of Iturup on 26 July – the territory is claimed by Japan.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry summoned the Russian ambassador Mikhail Galuzin to formally protest Russian Prime Minister Mishustin’s visit to Iturup Island, which is one of the South Kuril Islands claimed by Japan, Kyodo news reported on 26 July. Earlier in the day, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told reporters that Japan had planned to register a complaint with Russia with regard to the matter.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mishustin noted he has recently discussed measures to stimulate economic and investment activity in the Kuril Islands with Russian President Vladimir Putin, adding that this set of measures is unprecedented. During the visit, Mishustin also stated that the possibility of introducing a free customs territory in the Kuril Islands is currently being discussed. According to the prime minister, Russia will consider the possibility of tax exemptions for entrepreneurs and investors who work in the Kuril Islands.
Japan and Russia have been deadlocked in a territorial dispute over the South Kurils ever since the end of WWII. Japan claims Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai, islands in Russia’s Kuril Island chain, which they refer to as the “Northern Territories”. Moscow insists that its sovereignty over the islands, which became part of the USSR after WWII, is beyond dispute.

In November 2018, then-Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to accelerate peace treaty talks on the basis of a Soviet-era joint declaration. The document stipulates, among other things, that the Soviet Union would transfer Habomai and Shikotan to Japan following the conclusion of a peace treaty. The agreement by the two leaders to use the declaration as the basis for peace negotiations spurred a series of meetings held the following year by Putin and Abe and the countries’ foreign ministers.

  • Sputnik