Russia refused to negotiate with Japan on the transfer of two of the four islands of the South Kurils in the framework of discussions on the conclusion of a peace treaty.
One of the reasons for the collapse of the negotiations was Russia’s concern about the relationship between Japan and the United States. In addition, the refusal to negotiate could be due to the fact that the transfer of the islands could shake the approval rating of the population of the country.
Russia and Japan have not yet signed a peace treaty following the Second World War. The obstacle for this was the question of the ownership of the islands of Iturup, Kunashir and the Lesser Kuril ridge, which at the end of the war were incorporated into the Soviet Union. Despite this, Tokyo considers the islands to be their territories.
In 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to start a negotiation process on signing a peace agreement on the basis of the 1956 Soviet-Japanese Declaration.
In February, Japanese media wrote that Tokyo wanted to change the negotiation strategy with Moscow to finally sign a peace treaty, and in March, sources in the Russian leader’s administration said that Moscow had no plans to transfer the Kuril Islands to Tokyo, as the parties mutually disagree on the proposed conditions.