Japanese Foreign Minister conveyed to Lavrov that he was waiting for his visit to Japan

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi at a meeting of the parliamentary committee on Okinawa and the Northern Territory (as the South Kuril Islands Kunashir, Iturup, Shikotan and Habomai are called in Japan) said that during a telephone conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told him that he was waiting for his  visit to Japan when the situation with coronavirus calms down.

“Now we can’t meet physically, but I told Foreign Minister Lavrov that when the situation (with the coronavirus) calms down, I would like him to come to Japan”, – Motegi said.

He expressed the hope that during this meeting it will be possible to discuss bilateral issues, including the territorial issue.

Relations between Russia and Japan for many years have been overshadowed by the absence of a peace treaty. In 1956, the USSR and Japan signed the Joint Declaration, in which Moscow agreed to consider the possibility of transferring Japan to Habomai and Shikotan after the conclusion of a peace treaty, and the fate of Kunashir and Iturup was not affected. The USSR hoped that the Joint Declaration would put an end to the dispute, while Japan considered the document only part of the solution to the problem, without renouncing claims to all the islands.

Subsequent negotiations did not lead to anything, the peace treaty at the end of World War II was never signed. There is a point of view that serious opposition arose from the United States, which threatened that if Japan agrees to transfer only two of the four islands to it, this will affect the process of the return of Okinawa to Japanese sovereignty (the Agreement on the Return of Okinawa to Japan entered into force in 1972 – ed.). Moscow’s position is that the islands became part of the USSR following the Second World War, and the sovereignty of the Russian Federation is beyond doubt.