The Russian Kurile Islands and the Japanese appetites

By Adzhar Kurtov

Adzhar Kurtov is the leading scientific employee of the Russian Institute of Strategic Researches, the candidate of historical sciences.

Japan, using the former miscounts of the USSR, and then and of Yeltsin Russia, aspires to review of the results of the World War II. The campaign for the return of the Kurile Islands begins to grow before the forthcoming of the Russian and the Japanese negotiations at the July summit meeting G8, but the original history connected with the Kurile Islands, does not leave doubts in the lawful accessory of the islands to the Russian state. Whether time has come to put points above «i» ?Russia does not have any reasons for the territorial concessions of Japan, and our readiness to discuss this question is perceived in Tokyo as weakness and only inflames the appetites of the new Samurais.

One of these days, the lower chamber of the parliament of Japan has unanimously approved the bill which declares that the objective of the land of the rising sun is the prompt return of so-called «the northern territories». The Russian Kurile Islands are meant there. Now, according to the constitutional procedure, the document should act in the upper chamber of the Japanese parliament which, probably, automatically will support it. They expect the occurrence of the appropriating law in July, 2009.

The fact of such initiative testifies, at least, that not only in the Europe the forces became more active, aspiring to reconsider the results of the World War II. The attempts of the successors of the Baltic and Ukrainian collaborators to rehabilitate crimes of the local Schutz-Staffel men and at the same time to expose the certain multi-billion accounts for «the Famine-Genocide» or «the period of the occupation» to Moscow have not received till due condemnation from those states which were the allies of the USSR in the war with fascism. Therefore, possibly, in Tokyo they consider that the reassessment of the actions of the militarists of imperial Japan of the condemnation from the states of the United Nations also will not cause. Unfortunately, these expectations are not too fantastic.

The Japanese guidance with the east slyness has declared about its adherence to the negotiating process in a question of the accessory of the Kurile Islands for many years, and actually goes in other direction. Tokyo obviously wants to get all the southern Kurile Islands, and also before the signing of the peace treaty. The Japanese society consolidate around such rate. It was not incidentally that the decision of legislators was preceded with the application of Taro Asso, the prime minister (May 20, 2009) that Russia continues the illegal occupation of the Southern Kurile Islands.

The Japanese have toughened the position for the last some months. Still in February, 2009 when Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president met with Таро Асо, nothing foreboded the such turn. In April, Shiotaro Yati, the adviser of the prime minister of Japan, supported the return of the half of “disputable” island territories by Russia. Thus, Shiotaro Yati suggested to proceed not from the list of islands, and from their area. He proposed to look for the compromise right here. However, the “compromise” in such approach would look as follows: Russia would be obliged to return three and a half of the island (Shikotan, Kunashir, Khabomai ridge and a part of the Iturup island) to Japan, having reserved only a half of the Iturup island.

Before the trip of Vladimir Putin, the head of the Russian government to the land of the rising sun in May, 2009, Masakhuru Kono, the ambassador of Japan in Moscow, said that the solution of the problem concerned the southern Kurile Islands can be accelerated. The some Russian experts fondly believed, that Japanese could be tempted with the prospects of the development of the economic relations with Russia, having forgotten about the Kurile Islands forever. For example, Sergey Karaganov approved, that in the further, the joint cooperation of the two countries in use of the natural riches of the Southern Kurile Islands can be adjusted and in Japan, everyone will recall more rarely about the territorial question.

Whether there are the bases for such expectations? Really, the turnover between Russia and Japan in 2008 grew on 42,3 %, having reached 29 billion dollars in 2008. According to the Russian Federal Service of the State Statistics, the volume of the Japanese investments in the Russian economy in December, 2008 has exceeded 4 billion dollars (growth of 31,5 %) for the first time, but the Japanese capital, as well as in the majority of other countries, follows the own benefit, at all. So, 74,7 % of all the sum of the Japanese investments make the capital investments in the oil extraction and oil refining, 4,7 % — in wood and wood- working industries and only 2,9 % — in the motor industry [7].

Certainly, even in a case of the completion of the legislative initiative of the Japanese members of the parliament of the Southern Kurile Islands it will not have the legal value for Russia. The accessory of the whole Kurile Islands to Russia is confirmed by the international legal certificates having a priority over the norms of the Japanese national legislation but Russia should learn an important lesson from this event. It is impossible “to give a finger to those who is going to bite off all hand”. Our readiness for the negotiations is considered as weakness in Tokyo, and it only inflames “appetites “of the new Samurais.

Before the Russian and the Japanese negotiations which will take place at the July summit meeting G8, the new bill is appealed obviously to enrobe a position of the Japanese government on review of results of the World War II in the normative frameworks and to give a new impulse to the campaign developed in Japan aimed in the return of the islands.

Russia is obliged to respond to the similar attacks, and more rigidly, than by simply expression of the bewilderment from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In fact, the planned campaign is available.Time to reconsider the post-war Soviet approach which is based the known Declaration of 1956 came.The radicalism of the Tokyo leaders needs to oppose with the firm position of Moscow.It is not necessary to be ashamed of it. In fact, Russia has all the necessary and the sufficient political and legal means to defend the accessory of all without distinction islands of the Kurile ridge to our country, leaning on norms of international law.

It would be necessary to eradicate defects of the Eltsyn and Kozyrev’s rate from the practice of the Russian diplomatic department when our authorities tended to a version of the stage-by-stage transfer of the Kurile Islands to Japanese. Eltsyn, the President expressed the readiness to conclude the peace treaty with Japan up to the end of 2000 which it was supposed to make the certain steps towards to the Japanese territorial requirements. The Russian side admitted the inclusion of the very ambiguous formulations in the texts of the Tokyo declaration from October 13, 1993 and the Moscow declaration from November 14, 1998,allowed to Japan in own way to treat a number of the major problems at negotiations which were carried on at that time. Then, as well as today, many people tried to justify a rate for indulgence to the territorial claims of Japan by the reflections on benefits from the activation of the economic partnership.

It will be not out of place for the Japanese applicants for the Kurile Islands to remind the facts from the past.

The Russian state left to the Kurile Islands in the end of the 17th – the beginning of 18th centuries, after Vladimir Atlasov had been attached Kamchatka in 1697.From here, the exploration of the islands also began which went from the north on the south. The first cartographical description of the Kurile Islands, including their southern part, and the information about the Iturup and the Kunashir islands, was made by results of the I.Kozyrevskiy’s expedition in 1711-1713.

Then, our fellow countrymen appeared in the Southern Kurile Islands during the expedition of Shpanberg in 1739-1740.In this connection, it is curiously to note, that the Shikotan island has another name. It is the Shpanberg island. The Cossacks from the group of Ivan Cherniy, the centurion, in 1776-1779 gathered the «yasachniy sbor», (taxing gathering; the translator’s comment),in other words, it is the state tax.It is necessary to pay attention to this circumstance especially. First, it shows, that Japanese on islands then were not in the islands. Secondly, the payment of the state tax was a sign of the accessory of the islands to Russia.

Later Ekaterina II, liberated the “ainy” (or as they are named in the document, – ”shaggy Kuriltsy”) from payment of the tax by the special decree from April 30, 1779.It was directly spoken in the decree, that the population of the islands had accepted the Russian citizenship. The same fact was proved to be the true by the subsequent decrees of 1786 and 1799.

Already then, the diplomats of the Russian empire held the opinion about the conclusive accessory of the Kurile Islands of Russia, asking Ekaterina II, the empress,to declare it to other powers. The Russian had made the first in the world map of the Southern Kurile Islands. They also gave the own names to the islands became mentioned today. Unfortunately, these islands are mentioned under the Japanese names even in the Russian mass-media. So, the Habomai islands were called «as the Flat islands». All the islands of the Kurile ridge were designated as the component of the Russian empire in the atlas for the national schools in 1780.They are designated in the main official publication of that time – the Atlas of Russian empire in the same status. Thus, the historical priority in opening, development, and legal fastening of the possession by the Kurile Islands belongs to Russia.

The penetration of Japanese into the Southern Kurile Islands has begun, essentially later – only since 1802. This circumstance is recognized even by the State department of the USA.Japan had established the regime of isolation from an external world by the special decree of Tokugava Iemitsu, shogun since 1639.This regime of isolation has existed up to the middle of the 20 th century. The authorities of Japan have preserved themselves in the medieval borders at own will. It was forbidden under fear of a death penalty to build the marine vessels and to leave Japan in other countries.

Only the temporary easing of Russia in the conditions of intrigues of the European powers having led to the Crimean war, allowed Japan to impose the Simod treatise of commerce and borders from January, 25th, 1855 to it. According to Article 2 of this document, the border has been lead between the Urup and the Iturup islands. The Sakhalin island remained to be the unlocated possession of Russia and Japan. The status of Sakhalin indirectly influenced the relations between the countries concerned the Kurile Islands. The refusal of Japan from Sakhalin under the Treatise signed in St.-Petersburg on the 25th of April,, 1875 has been compensated to it by the concession at once the 18 Kurile Islands from Urup up to Shumshu. On the 27 th of May, 1895, Russia and Japan had concluded the Treatise of commerce and navigation according to which the Simod treatise lost force, and agreement of 1875 kept the force.

After the war between Russia and Japan, according to the Portsmouth peace treaty on the 23rd of August, 1905,a part of Sakhalin( to the south of 50-th parallel) was sawed-off from Russia. However it is necessary to pay attention to one important circumstance: in the same contract it has been fixed (article 12 and the Appendix to the contract 10), that all previous the Russian and the Japanese treaties and agreements were cancelled upon an initiative of Japan. Thus, the Treatise of 1875 of the defining borders, lost its force. From there, the constant references of the modern Japanese diplomacy for the conditions of the treatises of 1855 and 1875 which were profitable for Tokyo actually are unauthorized, as the given agreements have lost in 1905.

The revolution in Russia was apprehended by the Japanese authorities as one more unique chance to sponge due to the neighboring country. The armies of imperial Japan participated in the intervention against Russia in 1918-1925 (the landing was put down in Vladivostok in April, 1918 and have been remaining in the Primorski Krai longer than the armies of another countries-interventionists. Japan captured and had been holding the Northern Sakhalin up to the middle of 1925. More than 70 thousand Japanese army men participated in the aggression. The damage from the Japanese intervention made more than 100 million roubles in the gold currency in the Primorski Krai, it was over 10 million roubles in the gold currency in the Northern Sakhalin.

The aggression of Japan actually “had buried” the conditions of the Portsmouth peace treaty though later “the bolsheviki” (the member left revolutionary, according to many authors — extreme Left wing after the split of the party of the bolsheviki and the mensheviki. In the further, the bolsheviki were divided in the separate party – The Russian Social Democratic Workers Party ; the translator’ comment) preferred to “close eyes “ to it in the Convention of the main principles of relations between the USSR and Japan on the 20th of January, 1925.

The Samurais not once will prefer the peace and the good neighborhood to a way of the aggression. On the 25th of November, 1936 in Berlin, the governments of the «Great Japanese Empire» and the fascist Germany will sign the document, known in the domestic literature as the Anti- Comintern pact. It contained the confidential agreement, in the first article of which the sides undertook “ … not to take any measures which could facilitate to the simplification of the position of the USSR”. The Japanese assiduously executed these obligations. In 1938-1939 Japan attacked the USSR at the Khasan and the Khalkin-gol. The Tokyo International Military Tribunal for the Russian Far East in 1948 qualified these actions as «the aggressive war, having spent by the Japanese».

However, with reference to the Southern Kurile Islands, the major and the basic indisputable fact is that, Japan was the country-aggressor in the World War II. The documents of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs of that time were kept from which it is visible, that the Tokyo diplomats very cynically reacted to the international law. Tokyo did not think at all to execute the positions of the Pact of the neutrality between the USSR and Japan signed. So,it was said in the application of Matsuoki, the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs to Ribbentrop, the head of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs: «No Japanese prime minister or the Minister of Foreign Affairs will manage to force Japan to remain neutral if the conflict arose between Germany and the USSR. In this case Japan will be compelled, naturally to attack to Russia on a side of Germany. No Pact of the neutrality will help here». Мацуока also appealed «to move to the North and to reach Irkutsk» during the meeting in the rate of the Japanese emperor on the 27th of June, 1941.

The maintenance of the Pact of the neutrality by Japan costed the huge victims to our people, because the USSR have been compelled to hold the powerful military group in the Far East (up to 28 % of the staff of the “Red Army” was concentrated there and in the southern borders where also there was a threat proceeded from the German secret agents in Iran) while these armies were extremely necessary in the fights with fascist Germany.

The documents signed by the allies in the war with fascist Germany and militaristic Japan, keep a legal force now, unlike the Simod and the Portsmouth treatises.On the 8th of August,1945 USSR joined in the Cairo declaration of the USA, the Great Britain and China( of November, 27, 1943) in which it had been defined that the aims of the allies is the exile of Japan from the territories, «which it had occupied by means of force and as a result of its avidity». In the Yalta agreement concerning the Far East of the 11th of February, 1945 There was the item about «the transfer to the Kurile Islands to the Soviet Union and the return the southern part of the Sakhalin island» In the Yalta agreement concerning the Far East of the 11th of February, 1945. It was directly spoken in the text, that these requirements undoubtedly would be satisfied after the victory of the allies over Japan. It was a question about all the Kurile Islands, that is about the Southern Kurile Islands.

According to the Yalta agreements, Moscow, carrying out of the obligations to the allies, on the 5th of April, 1945 accepted the governmental Application of the denouncement of the Pact of the neutrality with Japan.

Having spent the belligerent line, the land of the rising sun was defeated. On the 2nd of September, 1945 Japan signed the Act of unconditional capitulation according to which it undertook to carry out the Potsdam declaration of the allied powers of the July 26, 1945, where in particular, it was stipulated: «The conditions of the Cairo declaration will be executed and the Japanese sovereignty will be limited by Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and those less large islands which we shall specify» It was spoken in the address of Stalin to the Soviet people on September 2, 1945: «Today, Japan recognized itself to be won and signed the act of the unconditional capitulation. It meant, that the Southern Sakhalin and the Kurile Islands would be passed to the Soviet Union and from now, they would serve not as the means of the separation of the Soviet Union from the ocean and the base of the Japanese attack to the Russian Far East, and the means of the direct communication of the Soviet Union with the ocean and the base of the defense of our country from the Japanese aggression». It is remarkable, that the Japanese recognized these severe realities during this period. For example, the Kurile Islands were listed in the imperial rescript № 651 of November, 22, 1945 as the areas which were not the territories actually of Japan».

On the 2nd of February, 1946,the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme body of the USSR was published, according to which the whole land with its bowels and waters in the territory of the Southern Sakhalin and the Kurile Islands was announced the state ownership of the Soviet Union. The deprivation of Japan of the Kurile Islands was a measure of the punishment of the country-aggressor. During this period, the Japanese politicians perfectly understood it and did not say about the claims for Kurile Islands, for example, during the carrying out of the Tokyo tribunal over the military criminals.

Japan also does not have a right to refer to the Pact of the neutrality between the USSR and Japan of April 13, 1941. Japan broke the given pact because it that did not remain the neutral. It helped to Hitlerite Germany by the deliveries of the strategic raw material, repeatedly broke air and overland borders of the USSR, organized the provocations by means of the Kvantunsky army, consisted of more than million people and developed at the Soviet borders, occupied and sank the Soviet ships. The fact of the infringement of the Pact of the neutrality by Japan was recognized in the text of athe verdict of the Tokyo military tribunal. Meanwhile, the international law (in particular, the article № 60 of the Viennese conventions of the right of the international agreements says: «The essential infringement of the bilateral contract by one of its participants grants for other participant to refer to this infringement as the basis for the cessation of the contract or the suspension of the contract». The Soviet armies legally, quite fairly and lawfully occupied the Southern Sakhalin and the Kurile Islands during the operations against the country-aggressor.

The modern Japanese politicians often motivate the claims for «the northern territories» also by that the peace treaty between the USSR and Japan after the World War II which would summarize its totals, was not signed. Really, such document is absent. The international peace conference took place initiated by the United States in 1951 in San Francisco. The American -British project of the peace treaty with Japan was considered there. The Soviet Union did not put its signature under this contract. Moscow did not agree, in particular, that the given document (having accepted already during «the cold war») did not contain the guarantees from the restoration of the Japanese militarism in the text. As a result, the contract was not signed also in a lot of other states among which the Republic of China and India were.

Though the range of problems of the Kurile Islands was not the main “stumbling-block” at the conference in San Francisco, A. Gromyko, the representative of the USSR, the first deputy of the minister of Foreign Affairs, actively tried to achieve in this part of the improvement of the text of the peace treaty named “separate” by him later. The Soviet delegation offered the following edition of the item “s” of the Article 2: «Japan will accept the full sovereignty of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics of the southern part of the Sakhalin island with all the islands adjoining it and to the Kurile Islands and will refuse all rights, the legal bases and the claims for these territories»

The Americans and the British who “set the tone” at the conference in San Francisco, did not try to prevent especially to the transfer of all the Sakhalin Island and the Kurile Islands from Japan to the USSR. In particular, the English Embassy wrote to the State Department of the USA in its memorandum: «… Japan has to cede the Southern Sakhalin Island and Kurile Islands to the Soviet Union». Even A.Dalles, the state secretary of the USA, known for his anti-Soviet views, declared: «Japan officially ratifies the positions of the Potsdam conditions of the capitulation, concerning the territories, the positions, which, including, as to Japan – in fact, came into force six years ago»

As a result, the San Francisco peace treaty with Japan of September 8, 1951 contained the positions, sufficient for the definition of the accessory of the Kurile Islands to the USSR. The item, already mentioned above from” Article 2 sounds as follows: «Japan refuses all rights, legal bases and the claims for the Kurile Islands and for that part of the Sakhalin island and the islands adjoining to them, over which Japan got the sovereignty according to the Portsmouth treaty of September 5, 1905».

Two circumstances are important. First, Japan, at the same time, refused from the territorial claims also for other regions, such as, from the gains in Korea, from the Formosa island (the present- Taiwan), from the Pescadores Islands, the Paracel islands and the Spratly Islands. That is, the present the resumption of the territorial claims of Japan to Russia can logically result to the “re-charting” of a political card of other regions of these part of the world. Secondly, the precise fixing in the San Francisco Treaty of the refusal of all the legal bases deprives the Japanese diplomacy of a possibility to speculate of history, reminding only those treaties with Russia which were profitable for it in this question, and, to the contrary, condoning those treaties, in which the question of the possession of the Kurile Islands was solved in favor of Russia.

The item “a” of the article № 8 of the San Francisco peace treaty is essentially important. It says: «Japan accepts the full force of all the treaties signed by the Allied Powers now or in the future, for the cessation of the condition of the war,having begun on the 1st of September, 1939, as well as any other agreements of the Allied Powers, signed for the restoration of the peace or in connection with the restoration of the peace». In other words, that Tokyo undertook to carry out the Yalta and the Potsdam agreements.

Neither during the signature nor the ratification of the San Francisco Peace Treaty, Japan did not make any reservations, thereby agreeing to the absolute and complete rejection from the Kurile Islands and Sakhalin. Moreover, on September 5, 1951, S.Yoshida,the Prime Minister of Japan, speaking during the Conference in San Francisco, said: “the Japanese delegation is delighted to accept this fair and generous agreement”.

Characteristically, during the hearing of the Parliament of Japan, when the San Francisco Peace Treaty was discussed, K. Nishimura, the minister of Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the head of the Treaty Department said: As Japan had to refuse from the sovereignty for the Kurile Islands, it lost the right to vote for the final decision concerning their accessory”

The San Francisco Peace Treaty was multilateral, not bilateral. Therefore, the lack of signature of the USSR under it, does not mean that the obligation of Japan regarding to the transfer of Sakhalin and the Kurile Islands. The border demarcation, while not making out at the bilateral level, legally was considered to be the resolved issue.

The position was clearly expressed in the signed certificates, on which the San Francisco Peace Treaty was based. The fact, that it was not said, in whose favor Japan refused from the particular territories in the text of the San Francisco Treaty,did not have a legal meaning. The Treaty summarizes the totals of the war and punished the defeated country-aggressor. Naturally, such country deprived the right to determine to whom the territory would belong.

The references of today’s leaders of Japan to that there is a speech in the San Francisco Peace Treaty ostensibly only about the Northern Kurile Island. The disputable territories, such as the Shikotan islands are, Iturup and Kunashir islands and Habomaj ridge do not concern to them. There is no also a hint on such understanding anywhere in the text of the treaty: the Kurile Islands are considered as the full composition.

Finally, the Decree of the United Nations operating now, fixes the following norm in 107th article: «the Present Decree at all does not deprive a validity of the actions undertaken or authorized as a result of the World War II, being responsible for such actions by the governments, concerning any state which during the World War II was the enemy of any of the states which signed the present Decree, or does not prevent such actions»

Thus, regardless of how today it is possible to evaluate the refusal of the USSR to put his signature under the San Francisco Peace Treaty (from the point of view of the author of this article, it was a political mistake), legally, there should be no doubt in the accessory of the Kurile Islands to Russia.)

In four years after the San Francisco peace conference the USSR and Japan expressed the readiness to start the bilateral negotiations with the objective to work out the bilateral peace treaty. The Japanese governmental delegation at the head of Hatojama, the prime-minister arrived to Moscow. It was not possible to sign the Treaty, in particular, because of the promotion of the territorial claims to the USSR by Japan already then. Therefore, on October 19, 1956,also the known Joint Soviet-Japanese Declaration of the normalization of relations was accepted only.

There is a set of the myths actively exploited both in Japan, and in Russia, concerning the given document. Let’s begin with that, this declaration testified about the intentions of Moscow to develop the productive cooperation with Tokyo. The Article№ 1 said: «the Condition of the war between the USSR and Japan stops from the date of coming into force of the present Declaration, and the peace and good-neighborhood friendship are restored between them». The declaration was ratified by the USSR and Japan. The exchange of instruments of ratification took place on December 12, 1956.Therefore, till now, the common judgments of some uninformed politicians experts and journalists that Russia and nowadays is in the state of the war with Japan, is only expression of the incompetence or the going distortion of true.The Item № 4 of the Declaration contained the promise: «the USSR will support the request of Japan for its acceptance in the United Nations Organization». The Item № 6 of the Declaration went in the same direction: «the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics refuses from all reparations and claims to Japan».

The most mentioned article № 9 of the Declaration which really provided an agreement of the USSR, «in response to wishes of Japan and taking into account the interests of the Japanese state», for the disposal of the Shikotan and Habomai Islands. Nevertheless, the article neatly stipulated it by a condition, that their actual disposal would take place only after the signing of the peace treaty between Russia and Japan. By the way, having signed this Declaration, Japan also legally recognized the Shikotan and Habomai Islands as the Soviet territory.

From the legal point of view, the intention of the USSR to pass a part of the Southern Kurile Islands to Japan, first, was not an unconditional obligation which should be executed in any case. Secondly, this intention was no more than “the gesture of good will “of the USSR, ready “to sacrifice “the part of its territories, but not of the Japanese, in the name of the kind relations with the neighboring country. From our point of view, this position was erroneous as this amicable gesture had been incorrectly estimated by the Japanese. Tokyo interpreted it as a possibility to expose even the greater territorial claims to Moscow. Such practice had been taking a place also before 1956, it is observed until now, as shown in the beginning of the article. The territory of Russia should not be the subject matter of the diplomatic deal-making process. It does not have either legal, or the moral justification. The Similar “gifts” always had bad ending for Moscow. It is enough to recollect the precipitate decision to transfer Crimea in the structure of Ukraine from the RSFSR, which took place about at the same.

As, Japan did not fulfill conditions of the Declaration and signed the Security Treaty with the United States against the USSR and the Republic of China in 1960, the Soviet Union had to make the application for conditionality of the disposal of the islands by the withdrawal of all foreign armies from the Japanese territory. It was spoken in the aid-memoire of the Soviet government of January 27, 1960: «In connection with that this treaty (the treaty of Japan with the USA means. – A.K)in fact, deprives Japan of the independence and the foreign armies which are in Japan as a result of its capitulation, will continue the stay in the Japanese territory, there is a new position according to which, the realization of the promise of the Soviet government about the disposal of Japan Habomai and Sikotan islands, is impossible (Shikotan Island– A.K)»In reply to this, the government of Japan also directed the own aide-memoire of February 5, 1960 where it opened the true intentions. It was said in this document: «Our country the country would relentlessly seek the return not only Habomai and Sikotan islands to us, but also other primordial Japanese territories».

Meanwhile, the actions of the government of the USSR, correcting the own misstep, connected with the Declaration of 1956, quite conformed to the norms of the international law. So, 44 and 62 of the Viennese conventions of the right of the international agreements provide, that the treaty cannot be executed or postponed with execution in full or in a part in the case, that there were the circumstances after its signing,which essentially changed the initial conditions from which the sides proceeded during its signing. The Anti-Soviet actions of the Japan which were expressed in the unilateral variation and the review of the initial conditions of the Declaration, and became these circumstances. In this sense, the positions of the article № 9 of the Declaration, from the point of view of the international law it is possible to accept invalid, and it is better to make it now. It is impossible to repeat mistakes of the predecessors once again. As it has been told in the application the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR of May 7, 1988 about of the Japanese territorial claims: «The territory is greater in the USSR, but we do not have the extra ground».

It is not necessary to make a tragedy from the fact of the of absence now the peace treaty between Japan and Russia. Nobody impedes us to work without the peace treaty. By the way, Russia also does not have the peace treaty with Germany.

It remains to add that Japan admits the current border in the Kurile Islands, because it signed a number of agreements, in particular, of the fisheries of June 10, 1963, and of August 25, 1981.

It is said in the article № 4 of the Constitution of Russia: “the Russian Federation ensures the integrity and inviolability of its territory. Now there is no reason for the territorial concessions to Japan. For us, any options which would mean Russia’s refusal from its sovereignty over the Southern Kurile Islands must be unacceptable.


Translated from the Russian by Kalyuzhnaya Irina APIR Center

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