A history of rocky relations between Japan and Russiahttps://indianexpress.com/article/world/a-history-of-rocky-relations-between-japan-and-russia-4428637/

A history of rocky relations between Japan and Russia

The Kuril Islands dispute between Japan and Russia started when a string of islands between the two countries were annexed by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II.

Japan and Russia, Japan and Russia relations, Shinzo Abe, Russian President Vladimir Putin, International news, World news, Foreign relations, Foreign politcs, Foreign policy news, International news, World news
Map showing Russia (in orange) and Japan (in Green). (Source: Wikipedia)

Japan and the former Soviet Union restored diplomatic relations a decade after World War II, but a dispute over a cluster of islands kept them from signing a peace treaty. Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Japan this week for talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the issue.

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A timeline of the rocky relations between Japan and Russia, dating to the 19th century:

  • 1855: Japan and Russia sign the Treaty of Shimoda, starting diplomatic relations.
  • 1905: Japan defeats Russia in the Russo-Japanese War. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt mediates a negotiated end to the fighting.
  • 1941: Japan and the Soviet Union sign a neutrality pact pledging to respect the sovereignty of Japan’s puppet state in Manchuria.
  • 1945: The Soviet Union declares war on Japan a week before Tokyo’s Aug. 15 surrender, scrapping the neutrality pact and seizing the southern Kuril islands.
  • 1956: The two countries sign the Japan-Soviet Joint Declaration, ending the state of war and restoring diplomatic ties. The Soviet Union agrees to return two of the four islands after a peace treaty is signed.
  • 1960s-1970s: No progress on the territorial dispute during the Cold War.
  • 991: Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev visits Japan after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. He signs a communique recognizing the territorial dispute.
  • 1993: Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Japanese Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa sign a “Tokyo Declaration” in which they agree to continue negotiations toward a peace treaty.
  • 2001: Putin becomes president. Japan and Russia agree to recognize the 1956 joint declaration as the starting point of negotiations to resolve the island issue.
  • 2010: Relations cool after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visits one of the four disputed islands.
  • 2012: Putin and Abe return to leadership of their respective countries and foster closer ties.
  • 2014: Russia annexes Crimea, putting ice on efforts to improve bilateral relations.
  • 2016: Putin meets Abe in Japan for talks on the territorial issue.