Russia Begins 1st Road Paving on Disputed Shikotan Island
Moscow, Sept. 25 (Jiji Press)--Russia has started asphalt-paving work on a road on Shikotan, one of the four Russian-held northwestern Pacific islands claimed by Japan, for the first time, according to a local administrative body.
The move was announced Thursday by Sakhalin Oblast in Russia's Far East, which effectively administers the islands at the center of the territorial dispute that prevents the two countries from concluding a World War II peace treaty.
Tokyo and Moscow have agreed to hold peace treaty negotiations on the basis of the 1956 Japan-Soviet joint declaration, which stipulates the handover of Shikotan and the Habomais, also part of the disputed islands, to Japan after the envisioned peace treaty is signed.
But Russia is strengthening its effective control over the islands, called the Northern Territories in Japan, including by opening a large seafood-processing plant on Shikotan last year.
The paving work, which began in Shakotan, is scheduled to cover more than 2.5 kilometers of road. The project is part of the Russian government's socio-economic development plan for the Kuril Islands, which include the disputed islands.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]