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9 Jul, 2009 10:23

Japan attempts to redraw post-war borders

The territorial dispute between Russia and Japan over the Kuril Islands dominated discussions as President Dmitry Medvedev meets Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso on the sidelines of the G8.

Tensions over the controversial issue were heightened only last week when Japan’s parliament adopted a bill officially recognizing the islands as part of its “historical territory”.

The region was annexed by the Soviet Union as a result of World War Two.

Independent analyst Vladimir Kozin says Japan’s demarche is an attempt to redraw post-war borders in Asia.

“The Kuril Islands are the strategic area for Russian nuclear submarines sailing from their home bases to the Pacific Ocean,” recalled Kozin.

“If Russia gives any islands to Japan it will immediately create a precedent for Japan to demand Sakhalin and other islands of the Kuril belt up to Kamchatka!” Kozin warned.

“We share a view that in order to truly elevate Japan-Russian strategic partnership relations onto a higher dimension it is very unnatural that we are unable to resolve this long-lasting issue of the Northern Territories,” commented Kazuo Kodama, spokesman of the Japanese Foreign Ministry.