Moscow said Tokyo is ignoring the outcome of World War II, after Japan’s official map for its upcoming 2020 Olympic Games marked the Russia-controlled Kuril Islands as its own territory.
From time to time, the Japanese government “is trying to ignore reality, namely, Russia’s unquestionable sovereignty over the Southern Kurils,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday. Tokyo has consistently been protesting against “our legitimate activity” on the islands, which doesn’t help bilateral ties, she added.
Screenshot from the website of 2020 Tokyo Olympics © The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games
The territorial dispute over the Kuril Islands has been poisoning relations between Russia and Japan for several decades. The four islands, Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan, and Habomai, were handed over to the USSR under the post-war 1945 Potsdam Declaration.
Since then, Tokyo has tried to claim the four islands, known in Japan as the ‘Northern Territories’, suggesting that it regain sovereignty over the southernmost part of the archipelago.