Two South Kuril and two islands off Hokkaido are the own land of Japan.
Map source: University of Texas Library
The islands lie off Japan's northern-most island of Hokkaido.
Photo source: AP and NHK broadcast, Feberuary 13, 2011.
Kunashiri Island, one of four islands of Northern Territories in the Southern
Source: Reuters (2007)/Kyodo and NHK broadcast Feberuary 13, 2011.
The dispute over the islands has been going on since the end of World War
II. President Medvedev has paid
the first visit by a Russian president to the disputed Kuril Islands, sparking
a diplomatic row with Japan.
Mr. Medvedev met local residents in Kunashir, the second-largest of the
four islands, and pledged more
investment $B!!(Bfor the region. Japanese Prime Minister N. Kan expressed his
deep regret over the President
Medvedev's visit to the island, and Russia's envoy was summoned. Russia
called Japan's reaction
to the visit unacceptable. Russia took control of the islands at the end
of World War II. The islands lie
to the north of Japan's Hokkaido island and to the south of Russia's Kamchatka
They are known in Russia as the Southern Kuril islands, while Japan calls
them Northern Territories.
Before Russia took control of them, some 17,000 Japanese residents lived
in Kuril islands.
They are known in Russia as the Southern Kuril islands, while Japan calls
them Northern Territories.
Mr. Medvedev is the first Russian leader to set foot on the islands. In
Kunashir, known in Japan as Kunashiri,
he visited a kindergarten, a power station and a fishery, and promised
greater investment in the region.
"We have an interest in people remaining here. It is important that
there be development. We will
invest money in Kunashiri without fail." Interfax news agency quoted
him as saying. Prime Minister Kan
reiterated, "Those four northern islands are part of our country's
territory, so the president's visit is
very regrettable," he said. Separately, Japanese Foreign Minister
Seiji Maehara warned that
the visit would "hurt the feelings of Japanese people." The dispute
has strained relations between Tokyo
and Moscow ever since World War II, preventing the signing of a formal
peace treaty. The islands have
rich fishing grounds, mineral deposits and possibly oil and gas reserves.
Mr. Medvedev's visit comes
shortly before his planned trip to Japan for an Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation
(Apec) meeting in
mid-November. It also comes with Japan, locked in a separate territorial
dispute with another of its
Ties between China and Japan have been strained by a row over islands in
the East China Sea, which
is known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, that both claim.
Four islands of the Northern Territories were invaded by Soviet Armed Forces.
President Medvedev visited Kunashiri Island in Novermber, 2010, one of
the four Russian-held islands east of
Hokkaido claimed by Japan. He became the first leader from Russia or the
former Soviet Union to set
a foot on what Japan calls the Northern Territories.
In response to the action by the Russian President, the US State Department
officials supported the outstanding
claim by Japanese government and people, which the Northern Territories
in South Kunashiri Island is the own
land of Japan.
The United Stated clearly admitted the disputed four islands are Japan's
Source: Washington, Kyodo November 2, 2010
In Japan, August 14 is considered to be the day that the Pacific War ended,
and Imperial Japan actually surrendered on August 15.
This day became known in the English-speaking countries as" Victory
over Japan Day."
However, Russian Military force landed on the Etorofu Island, a part of
Hokkaido on August 28, despite the war had been ended,
and quickly occupied our Northern Islands of Japan for only nine days.
Japan claims that the islands are occupied illegally as the Soviet Union
during the period of August 28
and September 5, after Japan's surrender on August 15, 1945.
(L) Photo was taken the Soviet landing craft on August 28, 1945, and soldiers
occupied the Northern Islands.
(R) A Soviet flag over the Northern Territories
Source: NHK broadcast January 8, and February 13, 2011
In the Northern islands, 17,000 residents lived there before 1945. They
were compulsory deported by Soviet troops.
Photo: NHK broadcast, Feberuary 13, 2011.
Because of the dispute, Russia and Japan have not yet signed a peace treaty
to end World War II. Many
Japanese people migrated north to the islands in the 18th and 19th century,
including members of Hokkaido's minority,
Ainu community. In 1855, Russia and Japan signed the Treaty of Shimoda,
which gave Japan's ownership of the four
southern islands and Russia ownership of everything to the north. At the
time World War II began, there were
17,000 Japanese residents. Russia took control of the islands at the end
of the war, and by 1949 it had deported
all residents to Japan.
San Francisco Peace Treaty in 195 was signed between the Allies and Japan. Japan renounced all right, title
and claim to the Kuril Islands, as well as over other possessions. However,
this treaty resolved nothing. Russia did not
sign the treaty, and the Japanese government has never recognized the four
islands as part of the Kuril chain.
In 1956, the Japan-Soviet Joint Declaration restored diplomatic ties between
the two nations, but a formal peace
deal remained out of reach because of the territorial dispute. At the time,
Russia proposed returning the two islands
closest to Japan, a deal Japan rejected, in part because the two islands
represent only 7% of the land in question.
Since then, the dispute has remained unresolved.
Is there any way to resolve the territorial issue of the Four Islands?
NHK broadcast, Feberuary 13, 2011
In 1998, Japanese government proposed to Russia that Russia acknowledges
that Japan over the four islands;
on the other hand, Japan admits the Russia's administration right over
the Northern territories.
(L) Mikhail Gorbachev, the President of the Soviet Union made a pinky swear
with Japanese Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu
for the solution of the territorial issue.
(R) Russia President, Boris Yeltsin ( 1991-1996 ) and Ryutaro Hashimoto,
Prime Minister of Japan ( 1996-1998)
shake hands with a firm grip, saying to solve the Northern territories
at a meeting held in Tokyo in 1992.
In 1992, the former Secretary of State of Russia, G.E.Burbulis talked at
a lecture held at
a hotel in Tokyo that the military occupation occurred in 1945 is caused
by the invasive
action of Stalin's regime, and he convinced that the four northern islands off Hokkaido will,
sooner or later, return to Japan.
In 1992, the former Secretary of State of Russia, G.E.Burbulis talked at
a lecture held at a hotel in Tokyo that
the military occupation occurred in 1945 is caused by the invasive action
of Stalin's regime, and he convinced that
the four northern islands off Hokkaido will, sooner or later, return to
Japan. He stressed that Russia President, Boris Yeltsin
himself will never abandon the resolution of the territorial issue by law
and justice. He denied the previous talks of
V.S. Chernomydin, in which he rejected a negotiation regarding the territory
It is very pity that there was no voyage to solve the territorial issue
of the 'northern four islands' in the long period
of time to progress.
(L) Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Minoru Tanba
(M) Polish-born Yastrzhemsky bitterly opposed to returning the Northern
lands to Japan.
Had he no mind to show anger against German troops invaded Poland in 1939?
(R) All Japanese newspapers showed a rejection against the first-step return
of the two islands.
(L) In 2001, Russian president, Vladimir Putin said the Soviet Parliament
had ratified the agreement between Japan and USSR
that the two islands of Shikotan and Habomai should be returned, and it
is our duty to do so.
(M) A member of Jaoanese Parliament, Muneo Suzuki, it is difficult to request
Russia to return the four islands together,
and it is rather wise to ask the two islands of Shikotan and Habomai at first. He is known to conduct an economic
aid to the four islanders from Japan, when a financial crisis occurred
and one-third of people evacuated to the main land
of Russia during the period after 1991.
(R) Director General, Europa-Asia Affairs Bureau, Kazuhiko Togo said that
politics do not always reflect a legal basis
of the problems.
Minoru Tanba, Dupty Minister for Foreign Affairs says with bitter grief
in his heart, the Northern island has
never been governed by any other country, and it is truly our own native
lands. The territories' issue is the root
of the nation, and no country in the world would be respected, when easy
changed its attitude toward the country
under negotiation. Mikhail Gorbachev, who served from 1988 until its collapse
in 1991 as the last head of the USSR,
promised to Japanese Minister to solve the territorial problems before
the peach treaty between Japan and USSR.
This political view was taking over to the New Russian leader, Boris Yeltsin.
However, it was very sad to say
that the friendly partnership was destroyed by the negative advise given
by Sergey Yastrzhemsky, a staff
of Russia's presidential Excutive Office, born into a polish family, a
recruiting ground for the KBG, that if Russia
transfers the possession of Northern lands to Japan, it might cause of
a confusion in Russia.
Prime Minister Putin Putin stressed on the importance of Northern island
in the point of stratagem,
and he put 17.9 billion Rouble for the public facilities and economic assistance
of the four islands.
Photo source: NHK broadcast, Feberuary 13, 2011.
In 2006, Prime Minister Putin recognized and stressed the Northern island,
South Kuril islands and the two islands
of Shikotan and Habomai, is very important in the point of stratagem, and
he proposed to put 17.9 billion Rouble
for infrastructure of the island and assistance of the islanders.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Kunashiri Island
In November 2010, President Medvedev visited and made an inspection about
port, school and fisheries' factory of Kunashiri Island, that Japan insists
that is the inherent own land.
Many Russian youngsters are enjoying their lives at the Kunashiri Island.
Young Russian enjoying a summer sunlight, saying the land belongs to Russia,
and we do not return it to Japan.
Do they know that Japanese owned islands were illegally occupied by Soviet
troops on August 28, 1945, after
the date of the world war has already ended thirteen days before the military
President Medvedev visited Kunashiri Island on Novermber 1, 2010, one of
the four Russian-held islands
east of Hokkaido claimed by Japan. He became the first leader from Russia
or the former Soviet Union
to set a foot on what Japan calls the Northern Territories.
It is highly regrettable that he visited a place over which the question
of territorial jurisdiction has not
yet been solved between Japan and Russia. His visit runs counter to the
Tokyo. Declaration of 1993 was signed
by Prime Minister M Hosokawa and Russian President B Yeltsin. It declared
that the two countries would sign
a peace treaty by solving the territorial issue based on the related bilateral
documents and law and justice.
In February 2009, Mr. Medvedev proposed taking an "ingenuous approach"
to solve the territorial issue.
This has not yet taken place. Is he trying to project an image of a strong
leader with the Russian presidential
election in 2012 in mind?
The government must pay attention to the possibility that China and Russia
are synchronizing their pressure
against Japan; that is, China over the arrest of a Chinesefishing boat
captain near the Senkaku Island of
Okinawa and Russia over the Northern Territories. During Mr. Medvedev's
visit to Beijing on Sept. 26-28,
he and Chinese President Hu Jintao condemned "attempts" to change
the history of World War II.
In July, Russia held a large-scale military drill on Etorofu Island, one
of the four islands. Mr. Medvedev
signed into law a bill designating September 2, which is the date in 1945
that Japan submitted instruments
of surrender to the Allied Powers, as a memorial day for the end of World
To help solve the territorial issue, the government must analyze whether
Japan has made errors in dealing
with Russia. For example, since the change of government in September in
2009, no Japanese leader has
visited Russia. Japan should find out what really lies behind Mr. Medvedev's
act and builds a coolheaded
strategy that develops trustful bilateral ties as well as solidifies Japan's
principle against expansionism.
Source: Japan Times Editorial, November 3, 2010
A new generation born in Kunashiri Island is increasing and more native
islanders are now living there, after 61 years of illegal occupation.
Russian working at a grocery store said the number of goods are now 30,
40, 50 times more than before.
In the past, the goods were placed at the small corner space of the store.
Russian who has a villa at islands of Shikotan said you can see so beautiful nature. We really enjoy our full and fruitful
This man wants to say to thank the former Prime Minister Putin, because
he rescued and supported our life
when a very sad economic difficulty. The woman said she is proud of to
Is that mean we, Russian, expelled native Japanese people from their islands?
Picture source: NHK broadcast, February 13, 2011
NHK News November 2, 2010
The United States showed its support for Tokyo's stance on disputed islands
off Hokkaido held by Russia
but claimed by Japan. We are quite aware of the dispute. We do back Japan
regarding the Northern Territories,"
State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told a news briefing. His remarks
came after Russian President
Dmitry Medvedev on November 1, 2010, visited Kunashiri Island, one of the
four islands, which are known as
the Southern Kurils. It is the first time a senior official of the U.S.
administration of President Barack Obama,
which has emphasized improving ties with Moscow, has explicitly expressed
Washington's support for Japan's
position on the issue.
The assistant secretary of state for public affairs, also urged the two
countries to continue efforts toward
concluding a peace treaty, saying, The United States for a number of years
has encouraged Japan and Russia
to negotiate an actual peace treaty, regarding these and other issues.
Some analysts have said Japanese
diplomacy lacks strong leadership at a time when neighboring countries
have begun taking aggressive stances.
It asked whether Medvedev's visit to Kunashiri Island was motivated by
perceptions of Japanese weakness,
a senior U.S. official said," I don't know. The official added, "I'll
leave it to President Medvedev to explain why
now"he decided to visit the island. The islands of Etorofu, Kunashiri
and Shikotan as well as the Habomai islet
group was seized by Soviet Union around the end of World War II. The territorial
row has prevented Japan
and Russia from concluding a peace treaty, as Japan has called for their
Source: The Mainichi Daily News, November 2, 2010
(L) In 1990s, Russia had been suffering a severe economic crisis. This
woman worker said Russia would not need the small island of Shikotan.
(M) In 2009, the native Japanese people visited the cemetery of the islands.
The Islands before the Soviet Unioin arrived there, Japan discovered and
surveyed. 'The visit to Northern Islands framework
without using a visa' has been agreed between Japan and Russia, until the
territorial issue is resolved.
(R) This beach is the profoundly memorable for the island for the native
Photo source: NHK broadcast January 8, 2011.
Former island residents protested over Medvedev's visit to Northern Territories.
(L) Former island residents raise their voices in protest against Russian
President, D Medvedev's visit to Kunashiri Island
at a gathering in Nemuro, Hokkaido, in November 2010.
(M) Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara said we have to overcome this very difficult
problem between Japan and Russia,
by showing our wisdom each other.
Photo source: Nemuro Municipal Government and NHK broadcast, Feberuary
(R) A display to think about our own land, Northern four islands:
This was photographed at the Japanese Cabinet Office in April 2013.
Former residents of the Northern Territories were gathered in Hokkaido
on November 1 2010, to protest
against Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to visit to Kunashiri Island,
one of the disputed islands.
This rain today is the bitter tears, the angry tears of our ancestors during
these 65 years. We will not
yield to Russia's heavy-handed actions.
We are prepared to carry on forward toward a resolution of the territorial
issue," yelled Nemuro Mayor Hasegawa
amidst the strong, rain-tinged winds. At the Cape of Nosappu in Nemuro,
from which Northern Territories
can be seen, around 250 former islanders and others gathered, were wearing
headbands and sashes, reading
the aim of "Return our land," shouting slogans in a chorus.
"Our anger has swelled up. The four islands in South Kuril is Japanese
territory, and our movement will not
waver in the least," said an angry H Kawata, 76, head of the Nemuro
branch of an organization of former island
residents. Meanwhile, Hokkaido Gov. H Takahashi held an emergency press
conference in which she called on
Prime Minister N Kan to visit the Northern Territories. "It is deplorable.
We want to see an end soon to
Russia's illegal occupation of the Northern Territories, and we strongly
request the government to work
toward an end to this problem," said Takahashi.
However, some in the prefecture worry about worsening Japan-Russia relations.
national boundaries are delicate, so I hope that both sides will react
in a reasonable fashion," said Federation
of Hokkaido Chambers of Commerce and Industry Chairman, I Takamuki.
Source: The Mainichi Daily News, November 2, 2010
Prime Minister Naoto Kan delivers a speech at an annual rally in Tokyo
in February 2011 held to demand the return of four Russian-held islands
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's November visit to Kunashiri Island
was an "unforgivable outrage,"
Prime Minister Naoto Kan said at the annual government-sponsored rally
in Tokyo to demand the return of
territory seized by the Soviets at the end of World War II. Medvedev's
trip was the first made by a leader
from Moscow to one of the four Russian-held islands, the return of which
Kan called"an extremely important
matter for Japan's diplomacy." Like his predecessors, Kan meanwhile
vowed to continue negotiating with
Moscow to get the islands back. The Kan administration has been criticized
from the opposition camp and
the public about its handling of sensitive diplomatic problems. Medvedev's
trip last year kicked off a string
of additional visits to the disputed islands by Russian ministers. Foreign
Minister Seiji Maehara is set to visit
Moscow later this week to meet with his counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, and
discuss the deadlocked territorial dispute.
For 65 years, the islands are an integral part of our nation, have not
been returned," Maehara said at the
meeting. I would risk my political career to see the islands returned as
soon as possible.;The annual rally,
held in Tokyo to commemorate "Northern Territories was attended by
activists, former residents of the isles
and lawmakers from both the ruling and opposition parties. In the 1855
Treaty of Commerce, Navigation
and Delimitation, concluded that Japan and Russia confirmed the four islands
are Japanese territory.
At the end of World War II, Soviet forces seized the islands of Shikotan
and Kunashiri, and also the islets of
Etorofu and Habomai and later evicted Japanese inhabitants. The dispute
has kept Moscow and Tokyo from
signing a World War II peace treaty.
Source: Masami Ito, Staff writer, Japan Times, February 8, 2010
"Foreign investment in the four northern islands to continue to expand"
China and South Korea are now several companies are planning for aquaculture
in the four northern islands,
as well as business machines for fish processing factories, and some companies
will have to build ships repair
facility. However, if the Chinese enterprises to invest these four islands,
to a certain extent, recognized the
sovereignty of Russia on the four dispute islands, north to Hokkaido. Japan
will therefore, suspect that behind
the "politically motivated." Japan so worried about the expanded
foreign investment in the four northern islands,
since the investment is the recognition of the jurisdiction of the four
islands in Russia, so the Japanese
government strongly opposed.
Previously, the Russian government is always thinking and practice in Japan
with the joint development
of the four islands, but now, doing with the powerful Russian national
and domestic political struggle.
The government of Russia has determined to countries such as China and
South Korea alone, or the development
of these islands took, and no longer talk about Japan and the Northern
(L) NHK reported the movements investing in the four Northern Islands are
continued to expand.
(M) The district chief of the South Kuril ( Northern Territories ) said
we try to provide a comfortable
facility to all island residents and visitors by a business investment
from foreign countries.
(R) Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia said he cannot understand why
Japan advises other countries not
to work together with Russia.
(L) Many cabinet members visited the Northern Island. (M) For a joint venture
agreement at the Islands
(R) A land owner is promoting employment of Chinese to work at a farm of
the Northern Territories.
Chinese's travel agency is planning to the 10-day nature tour at the Northern
A president of Chinese's travel agency said he knows the islands are in
dispute between Japan and Russia.
However, it would provide an interest to many tourists and make it special.
Russian travel agency recognizes that Chinese is the important target for
tours in the islands.
Picture source: NHK broadcast, April 19, 2011
Russian TV report about Etorofu Island$B!!(Band geothermal power plant in the
Picture source: NHK broadcast, April 26, 2012
Russia pushes the development of Kuril Islands claimed by Japan as their
own land. In April 2012, the television
network in Russia reported that the Russian doctors' group visited Etorofu
Island to advise the developers to
build a hotspring resort to promote the health of people of Russia. The
island has many active volcanoes and
hot springs. There are geothermal power plants in the island, and it can
generate electricity, enough to cover
the demand for the people lives in Etorufu. About 8300 Japanese people
lived on Kunashiri island and 6000
on Etorofu island, and most of them were engaged in coastal and high sea
fishing, before the illegal occupation
by Soviet Union.
Mr. Putin talked about the Northern Territories issue negotiations,and said in Japanese; the issue might be
ended in a draw, "Hikiwake," in front of a foreign reporter, on March 1, 2011. He emphasized we should
the compromise point acceptable to each other.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, second from right, meets with foreign
journalists at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow. CBC News'photo
Source:Russia RTR and NHK BS1 World Wave, broadcast March 3, 2012.
Source:Russia RTR and NHK BS1 World Wave, broadcast March 5, 2012.
Mr. Putin declared his victory in the presidential election in Russia in
2012, and after, moved his to tears of emotion.
However, I sincerely hope that he can understand the bitter tears of Japanese
people following the illegal occupation
of our northern island by Russia after the world War $B-6(B.
Russia begins military drills in Far East.
Russia's Eastern Military District, which is based in the city of Khabarovsk,
says its troops are conducting military exercises
on the Etorofu and Kunashiri islands. The island is claimed by Japan and
called as the Northern Territories in Japan.
It said the drills will be the largest in several years, with more than
1,000 soldiers taking part. The exercises will also
involve five attack helicopters and 100 military vehicles.
Japan's foreign ministry says it notified Russia one week before that it
would not accept any military drills on the four islands
which are the inherent part of Japan's territory, that were illegally occupied
after World War $B-6(B.
Observers say that the exercises may further strain relations between Japan
and Russia, which have shown signs of
cooling over the situation in Ukraine. It has been said that the four islands
are 100 percent Japanese territory,
both historically and in terms of international law.
Source: NHK World
'Overview of the Issue of the Northern Territories' posted by Japanese
Government Japan's Northern Territories ( English )
Japan's Northern Territories ( Russian ) :
This page has been deleted from an unknown reason. Please refer the English
We protest strongly against the Rissia's Prdident Medvedev to set foot
on our own land of Northern Territories
of Japan. Prime Minister Kan said that Medvedev's visit to the Japan's
inherent islands was unforgivable outrage.
It is the true voice of all Japanese people.
The reaction of people in Russia after Russia annexed Crimea.
(L) Hurrah for Putin (M) An increased support rate of Putin to 90% after
Russia annexed Crimea.
(R) President Putin can overcome any nation's difficulty. A college student
We feel that our lives are getting better.
If the northern territories of Japan returned to the home country, the
support rate to the prime minister of Japan could increase.
Don't you think so? The name of Putin will be left in the Russia's history
who took back the territory.
Picture sources: NHK, The Era of Disorder, broadcasted on January 10, 2016.
Japanese prisoners of war in the Soviet Union
By the end of World War 2, there were from 560,000 to 760,000 Japanese
prisoners of war in the Soviet Union and Mongolia,
interned to work in labor camps. Of them, about 10%, 50,000-60,000 died, mostly during the winter of 1945-1946. Russia 2008 and a tour guide to Moscow and Saint Petersburg -2014
Northern territories are the own land of Japan.
The article was written in November 2010, and last retouched in January
by Junhaku Miyamoto,M.D.,PhD.
A photograph was added in April 2013 and January 2016.
$B!z(BThis Web site is link free.
Special Note: $B!!(BTwo South Kuril and two islands off Hokkaido are the own land of Japan. $B!!(BSmoke-free hotels in Japan $B!!(BDomestic travel in Japan $B!!(BSmoke-free should be the minimum standard for the host city in the Olympic. $B!!(BWHO: Smoking should be banned in all public spaces. $B!!(BWorld population: seven billion v.s. Declining birth rate in Japan $B!!(BNobody in the earth can destroy the natural beauty of the land.
COPYRIGHT(C)2006-2018 JUNHAKU MIYAMOTO, M.D. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Junhaku Miyamoto profile
Northern-Island Soviet-Invasion Second-World-War South-Kuril Russia territorial-issue