Japan describes four islands whose ownership it disputes with moscow as “illegally occupied by Russia” within the latest version of a diplomatic report released Friday, using stronger language to explain the territorial flap than alternative recent versions and underscoring the chilled relations between the 2 sides amid the Russian invasion of Ukrayina.
The description in the 2022 Diplomatic Bluebook, AN annual report on Japan’s policy issued by the Foreign Ministry, uses that phrasing for the first time in nearly two decades. Japan, that is troubled to boost ties with moscow to regain control of the Kurils, which tokyo calls the Northern Territories, had previously represented the dispute in a softer tone.
“The Northern Territories are a group of islands Japan has sovereignty over and an integral a part of Japan’s territory, however currently they’re illegally occupied by Russia,” the ministry said in the report.The dispute over the Russian-held islands, that the previous USSR confiscate from Japan at the end of war II, has prevented the 2 countries from signing a peace treaty formally ending their war hostilities.
The report last used a similar expression in 2003 but had toned down its phrasing until last year, when it described the dispute as “the greatest concern between Japan and Russia” and noted that “Japan has sovereignty” over the islands.
In another territorial dispute, the ministry said the island that Japan calls Takeshima is “illegally occupied” by seoul, which calls it Dokdo.
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