Russia withdrew from peace treaty talks with Japan and froze joint economic projects related to the disputed Kuril Islands over sanctions being imposed by Japan over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Japan and Russia have still not formally ended World War II hostilities due to a standoff over islands that lie just off of the northernmost island of Hokkaido in Japan. In Russia, it is known as the Kurils. In Japan, the islands are known as the Northern Territories. At the end of World War II, Russia seized the islands.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that under the current conditions, Russia will not continue negotiations with Japan on a peace treaty, and said that Japan has openly held unfriendly positions and has attempted to damage the interests of Russia.
Japan reacted angrily to the withdrawal. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that he strongly opposes Russia’s decision. He said that it was unfair and completely unacceptable.
Kishida said that Russia had completely created this situation by invading neighboring Ukraine and that Russia has since pushed this into Japan-Russia relations.
He added that Japan must resolutely continue to sanction Russia.
Japan announced last week that it will revoke Russia’s most-favored-nation trade status, and expand the scope of what assets are frozen among Russian elites. Imports of certain products have also been banned.
Kishida said that Japan will be collaborating with international aid agencies in order to deliver food and medicine to Ukrainians and that Japan has begun accepting refugees.
Last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that both Tokyo and Moscow wanted to have good relations, and said it was “absurd” that the two countries had not yet reached a peace agreement.
Russia’s statement withdrawing from the peace talks also withdrew the country from talks with Japan about joint business projects dealing with the Kuril Islands. It also ended visa-free travel to Russia by Japanese citizens.