Russia-Japan: blaming U.S. for failures

Brussels 08.02.2022 Washington seeks to keep Japan’s unfounded territorial claims against Russia afloat in order to prevent the two countries from full-scale cooperation, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in a TV interview. Japan claims the four southernmost islands, including two of the three largest ones – Iturup and Kunashir, – as an integral part of its territory along with Shikotan and the Habomai islets, which has led to the ongoing Kuril Islands dispute between Japan and Russia.

While commenting on U.S. Ambassador to Tokyo Rahm Emanuel’s statement that Washington supported Tokyo in the issue of the Northern Territories (southern Kuril Island) and recognised Japan’s sovereignty over them, the diplomat pointed out that “over the past decades, the United States has transformed Japan from an independent state into a dependent one.”

The spokesperson reminded that Moscow had repeatedly called for abandoning the “attempts to artificially pump up hysteria” and tensions around the territorial issue, while the Japanese leadership kept neglecting “the need to build normal and full-fledged economic, financial and cultural ties” with Russia. “Every time, we highlighted the artificial nature of this issue and the related tensions,” the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman underlined.

“It is being fueled by a certain part of Japan’s political establishment. And who’s behind it? The U.S. ambassador has stepped forward and made it clear,” she added. Zakharova explained that Washington benefited from keeping the issue afloat because “this artificial problem prevents Japan from engaging in full-scale, mutually beneficial and long-term cooperation with Russia.”

The Russian diplomat recommended that the US envoy to Japan “should spend more time telling the Japanese public about the United States’ crimes.” “Particularly, about how the United States used nuclear weapons to attack the country’s civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Unfortunately, the Japanese public knows little about the U.S. role in those tragic events,” Maria Zakharova concluded.