Moscow (Times Of Ocean)- Russia halted joint economic projects involving disputed Kuril islands and withdrew from peace talks with Japan.
Russia withdrew from peace treaty talks with Japan and froze joint economic projects related to the disputed Kuril islands on Tuesday due to Japanese sanctions over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
As a result of the standoff over islands seized by the Soviet Union at the end of World War Two, just off Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido, both countries have not officially ended World War Two hostilities.
In Russia, the islands are known as the Kurils, and in Japan, the Northern Territories.
As of Friday, Japan had imposed sanctions on 76 individuals, seven banks and 12 other bodies in Russia, including defense officials and the state-owned arms exporter Rosoboronexport.
Russia will not pursue peace treaty negotiations with Japan “under current circumstances,” its foreign ministry said, citing Japan’s “openly unfriendly positions and efforts to harm our interests.”
Fumio Kishida, the Japanese prime minister, called Russia’s decision “unfair” and “completely unacceptable.”
“Russia’s response to pushing this onto Japan-Russia relations is extremely unfair and completely unacceptable,” he said, adding that Japan’s attitude towards a peace treaty had not changed and that it had protested against Russian decision.
“Japan must resolutely continue to sanction Russia in cooperation with the rest of the world,” he said.
Asked later about economic cooperation with Russia, Kishida stated that Japan valued the chance to secure an inexpensive energy supply – a reference to the Sakhalin energy projects cancelled by Shell SHEL.L and Exxon Mobil XOM.N.
Hirokazu Matsuno, the chief cabinet secretary, said that Japan had lodged a protest with the Russian ambassador to Japan, and later the vice foreign minister summoned the ambassador, Mikhail Galuzin, to the ministry to lodge a protest.
Galuzin was later quoted by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper as saying that due to recent “unfriendly actions,” Russia would not continue negotiations.
In addition, Japan announced last week that it would revoke the most-favored-nation trade status of Russia and ban the import of certain products.
President Vladimir Putin said last year that both Moscow and Tokyo wished for good relations and that it was absurd that they had not reached a peace agreement.
Russia’s constitution was amended in 2020 to prohibit the handover of territory to foreign powers.
In addition, Russia has ended visa-free travel for Japanese citizens and withdrawn from talks with Japan about joint business projects on the Kuril islands, its foreign ministry said.