Japan is using its ongoing territorial dispute with Russia over the Kuril Islands to turn its people against Moscow, said junior foreign minister Alexei Borodavkin in an interview published Wednesday.
A Japanese grave on the isle of Kunashir (South Kurils). Japan is using its ongoing territorial dispute with Russia over the Kuril Islands to turn its people against Moscow, said junior foreign minister Alexei Borodavkin in an interview(AFP/File)
"We would like Japan to stop its efforts to turn public opinion, in a artificial and unfriendly way, against Russia, by using the so-called 'northern territories'problem," he told the Russian daily Vremya Novosti.
"Russia does a lot to ensure that its citizens view Japan, its culture and its business activities in the country in a positive way," he added.
Developing friendship, confidence and a partnership between the two countries would help resolve the dispute over the islands, said Borodavkin.
He cited the signing in late July of a definitive agreement on Russia's eastern border with China after decades of disagreement.
In July, Russia's foreign ministry expressed its "bewilderment and regret" over Japanese school materials that described the disputed Kuril Islands as unlawfully occupied by Russia.
Located north of the Japanese island of Hokkaido, the four disputed islands are part of a long-running dispute between Russia and Japan that dates back to the closing days of World War II.
Soviet forces seized the islands on August 18, 1945, three days after Tokyo's capitulation in the war.
Japan continues to seek their return and the two sides have still not concluded a formal peace treaty ending World War II hostilities as a result of this dispute.