Japan's Sanctions Seen Further Clouding Isle Issue with Russia

Politics

Tokyo, Feb. 26 (Jiji Press)--Japan's additional sanctions on Russia, announced Friday, a day after the start of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, are likely to make the course of the long-standing territorial issue between Japan and Russia more uncertain.

Continuing bilateral dialogue on the territorial row over four Russian-held northwestern Pacific islands appears difficult following Tokyo's announcement of the sanctions, analysts said.

"It's important to clearly show that costs will be high for action violating international law," Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said at Friday's meeting of the Budget Committee of the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet, Japan's parliament, referring to Russia's military aggression against Ukraine.

"For the time being, we need to refrain from talking about the territorial issue," he added, suggesting that Japan has no choice but to shelve the issue for now.

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held talks with Putin a number of times while he was in office, helping create momentum for the resolution of the dispute. The Japanese side aimed to make progress on the issue through joint economic activities on and around the disputed islands, but bilateral negotiations did not proceed smoothly.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press