- 1. Where are the Kuril islands? Where are the boundary dispute between Japan and Russian Federation?
The Kuril islands are located in far north-west Pacific Ocean between Kamchatka Peninsula and Hokkaido island of the Japanese Archipelago.
(See Map below)
At least Etorofu island, Kunashiri island, Shikotan island and Habomai islands ( or Habomai group of islands) are now in dispute between Japan and Russian Federation.
USSR troops invaded these islands after Japan accepted the surrender of the the Allied Powers of World War II. Russian Federation has occupied these northern islands of Japan since then. Russia has built military base, houses, schools, shops and seafood processing plants there.
But South Sakhalin and the Kuril islands also have not been defined as the Russian Federation's territory yet, exactly, since the Treaty with Japan at San Francisco (1951) didn't define about the South Sakhalin and the Kuril islands as Russian's belongings. ( See figures below. )
Originaly native Japanese tribe called Ainu (it means Ainu people) lived in Sakhalin, the kuril Islands and called Ezo region in old days widely. Ezo region were called northern areas of Tohoku region of Main Island of the Japanese Archipelago and Hokkaido island and islands arround Hokkaido. People means word "Ezo" as the far northern areas of Japan in middle ages of Japanese history.
In 18th, 19th century people from Main Island came up to Ezo region and began to cultivate land and lived there. So native habitants were pushed to East Hokkaido gradually.
In 19th century due to Russo-Japanese treaty, Ainu who had lived South Sakhalin were forced to move to the Kuril islands and Hokkaido island.
In 20th century at the time of near the end of World War II, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics's troops moved down the Kuril islands from Kamchatka Peninsul to the south as they fighting with Japanese troops. On Aug.15 In 1945 Japan accepted the surrender of the Allied Powers of World War II, after that in Sep. of 1945 the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics's troops moved to these islands - Etorofu island, Kunashiri island, Shikotan island and Habomai islands.
Soviet's troops forced out not only Japanese soldiers but also all the Japanese villagers of these islands. Soviet had occupied these islands 46 years. Soviet splited into Russia and several 14 independent republics in 1991. After that Russia has still occupied over Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan and Habomai islands.
Kaigara islet of the Habomai islands is just about 3.7km distance from Nossapu point of the Nemuro peninsula, and the fartherest island called Etorofu island and the distance between this island and Shiretoko point of Shiretoko peninsula is about 120km and the fartherest point of this island is about 305 km distance from Shiretoko point of Shiretoko peninsula. (See Map above)
- 2. History of territorial transition
The boundary of the two nations changes with the ages.
|Year & Treaty
| 1855:Russo-Japanese Treaty of Amity (The Treaty of Shimoda )
Japan and Russia both recognize that the boundary of the two nations is concluded between Etorofu island and Urup island and northern part of the Kuril islands including Urup are Russian territory.
Japan and Russia both recognize that as for Sakhalin, two nations don't fix the boundary and continue the same conditions as before.
| 1875:Russo-Japanese Treaty
(The Treaty of Saint Petersburg or Sankt Peterburg)
(Sankt Peterburg:former Petrograd and Leningrad 1914-1991)
Japan and Russia both recognize that Japan renounces the claim of all the right on Sakhalin in exchange for possessing all the Kuril islands from Urup island to the northernmost island.
|1905:Portsmouth Peace Treaty
Russia cedes the southern part of Sakhalin to Japan forever. The fiftieth degree of north latitude is adopted as the territorial boundary.
|1951:Treaty with Japan at San Francisco (San Francisco Peace Treaty)
Japan renounces all right, title and claim to the Kurile Islands, and to the southern part of Sakhalin and the islands adjacent to it over which Japan acquired sovereignty as a consequence of the Treaty of Portsmouth 1905.
Japan obtained the southern part of Sakhalin in consequence of the Treaty of Portsmouth 1905
- 3. Treaty with Japan at San Francisco(San Francisco Peace Treaty)
I quate 'Chapter II : Territory' from 'San Francisco Peace Treaty'.
- Article 2
- Japan recognizing the independence of Korea, renounces all right, title and claim to Korea, including the islands of Quelpart, Port Hamilton and Dagelet.
- Japan renounces all right, title and claim to Formosa and the Pescadores.
- Japan renounces all right, title and claim to the Kurile Islands, and to that portion of Sakhalin and the islands adjacent to it over which Japan acquired sovereignty as a consequence of the Treaty of Portsmouth of 5 September 1905.
- Japan renounces all right, title and claim in connection with the League of Nations Mandate System, and accepts the action of the United Nations Security Council of 2 April 1947, extending the trusteeship system to the Pacific Islands formerly under mandate to Japan.
- Japan renounces all claim to any right or title to or interest in connection with any part of the Antarctic area, whether deriving from the activities of Japanese nationals or otherwise.
- Japan renounces all right, title and claim to the Spratly Islands and to the Paracel Islands.
( Souce from 'Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan' )
See (Japan : Treaty of Peace with Japan)
- 4. Why the matter of the Kuril islands's territory was caused?
Why Russia insists on the right of possession of the lands?
There was the conference at Yalta in Crimea peninsula in USSR (now Ukraine), so called "the Yalta Conference" on Feb.4-Feb.11,1945. The talks were made among British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin.
The important decisions were made but agreement remained secret until the end of World War II.The talks were on the matter of the deviding Germany, crimes trials, the reparations after Germany made unconditional surrender, on the matter of United Nations, on the matter of Polish presidensial election on a democratic basis with inclusive of democratic leaders from Poland and a government-in-exile's in London,
on the matter of asking USSR for fighting against Japan, and so on.
The USSR's acceptance was made under the secret promise that USSR regained South Sakhalin, the Kuril Islands and the occupation area in Korea. Regarding of the disposal of Japan's holdings, other agreements were made that the port of Dairen should be internationalized, that Port Arthur should be restored to its status before the Russo - Japanese War in 1904 - 1905 as a Russian naval base, that the Manchurian railroads should be under joint Chinese - Soviet administration, and that
the status quo in Outer Mongolia should be recognized.
The Crimea (Yalta) Conference, February 4-11, 1945 in The Avalon Project at Yale Law School A Decade of American Foreign Policy - Basic Documents 1941-1949
But Stalin of USSR broke his promise that democratic elections would be held in Poland.
USSR eliminated Democratic government persons and suppressed Democratic movements in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria.
- 5. Peace Treaty between Japan and Russian Federation would be concluded if Russian gentleman becomes the President of Russian Fedaration.
Peace Treaty between Japan and Russia has not concluded yet.
As for territory issue, Russia claims that all the Kuril islands, including Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan and Habomai islands, are within the Russian territory. While Japan claims that only Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan and Habomai islands shall be returned to Japan.
There are a opinion that when USSR broke the promise at Yalta and suppressed Democratic movements in the east Europian nations, some agreements at Yalta and also some agreements on the Peace Treaty at San Francisco can be no longer effective.
Suppose if all the Kuril islands are Russian's, then it is the same situations just as all the Aleution islands are U.S.'s., including Komandorski Islands.