The territorial dispute between Japan and Russia 2015/10/15


For Japan, Russia is a very important neighboring nation and both nations are wishing to develop economic and political corporation. However there is a difficult territorial dispute between two nations.

Russia、 America and Japan followed after west European nation’s colonialism. Russian fleet began to appear around Japanese coast since 18th century.

After Meiji Restoration (1867), Japan rapidly modernized the nation and followed west European’s way. Japan and Russia competed on a control of Manchuria and Korean peninsula and plunged into Japan- Russian war (1904-1905).

The war ended up with the first victory of non –European nation against European nation, however both nations continued to fight for the control of the districts even after the war.

But under an unstable world situation, Japan and Soviet Union suddenly signed on non- aggression pact (1941).

At the end of 1941, Japan opened Great East Asia War against America, U.K., Netherland and others. Japan fought well at the beginning, however it lost fighting power gradually and was cornered to accept Potsdam Declaration and surrendered against United Nations (Aug.1945).

However Soviet Union suddenly and one-sidedly broke the pact and invaded into Manchuria and Korean peninsula and detained around 600,000 surrendered Japanese soldiers and forced them to work in extremely cold Siberia for 4-11 years.

Soviet Union also invaded into Chishima Islands (Kuril Islands) and Karafuto (Sakhalin Island) and continued to stay there until now.

Japan regained independency by signing the SanFrancisco pact in 1952 and agreed to abandon Saklin and northern Chishima islands except southern islands. Soviet Union did not join San Francisco pact and territorial dispute on southern Chishima islands remained unsettled.


A solid and steady tie –up between Japan and Russia ie essential for developing stable and prosperous east Asia including Siberia. We have to find a sensible way to compromise the dispute.

Regretfully president Putin seemed to postpone his scheduled visit to Japan to discuss pending matters with Prime Minister Abe.