TOKYO (AP) — Japan describes 4 islands whose possession it disputes with Moscow as “illegally occupied by Russia” within the newest model of a diplomatic report launched Friday, utilizing stronger language to explain the territorial flap than different latest variations and underscoring the chilled relations between the 2 sides amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The outline within the 2022 Diplomatic Bluebook, an annual report on Japan’s international coverage issued by the International Ministry, makes use of that phrasing for the primary time in almost 20 years. Japan, which is struggling to enhance ties with Moscow to regain management of the Kurils, which Tokyo calls the Northern Territories, had beforehand described the dispute in a softer tone.
“The Northern Territories are a bunch of islands Japan has sovereignty over and an integral a part of Japan’s territory, however at present they’re illegally occupied by Russia,” the ministry stated within the report.
The dispute over the Russian-held islands, which the previous Soviet Union seized from Japan on the finish of World Struggle II, has prevented the 2 international locations from signing a peace treaty formally ending their struggle hostilities.
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The report final used an analogous expression in 2003 however had toned down its phrasing till final yr, when it described the dispute as “the best concern between Japan and Russia” and famous that “Japan has sovereignty” over the islands.
In one other territorial dispute, the ministry stated the island that Japan calls Takeshima is “illegally occupied” by Seoul, which calls it Dokdo.
South Korea’s International Ministry protested Japan’s “repeated inclusion of unjust sovereignty claims over Dokdo,” calling the island an integral a part of South Korean territory. It stated Tokyo’s repeated claims are in “no manner conducive to efforts to determine a future-oriented relationship between the 2 sides. Japan-South Korea ties have been additionally badly strained by historic points.
Japan has joined different Group of Seven international locations in imposing a collection of sanctions in opposition to Russia. Tokyo is taking a better position within the worldwide effort in opposition to Russia due to its issues in regards to the affect of the invasion in East Asia, the place China’s navy has grown more and more assertive.
Japan has already confronted reprisals from Russia, which just lately introduced the suspension of talks on a peace treaty with Tokyo that included negotiations over the disputed islands.
Japan additionally seeks to bolster its protection functionality and funds as a part of a key revision to Japan’s nationwide safety technique anticipated later this yr.
AP author Kim Tong-hyung in Seoul, South Korea contributed to this report.
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