Russia is a country that has many, many territorial disputes with many of its neighbors. The most notorious of these disputes, which we have all been paying attention to lately, is the one with Ukraine.
Russia is laying claim to the Crimean peninsula, which it annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
The Russian President has challenged Ukraine’s right to independence, and Russian forces are currently invading and occupying large swaths of Ukrainian territory.
Despite the fact that this is the largest and most strongly opposed dispute with the Russian government, it is far from the only one, because thousands of miles away, on the other side of Eurasia, another conflict is brewing.
Bubbling under the surface and in the headlines is a dispute between Russia and Japan over the status of four islands, all four of which are currently ruled by Moscow but vehemently claimed by Tokyo as their so-called northern territories.
Two weeks after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Japanese Prime Minister declared that these four islands were independent territories.
The next day, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi declared that the islands were an integral part of Japan. This is not like they are claiming these islands out of the blue.
What is the dispute between Japan and Russia?
Japan and the Russian Federation are at odds over ownership of the Kuril Islands, also known as the Northern Territories dispute in Japan.
The ownership of the Southern Kuril Islands is a territorial dispute between Russia and Japan that has been unresolved since the end of World War II. After the war, all of the Kuril Islands were incorporated into the USSR, but the ownership of the islands of:
- The Habomai group of islands
is disputed by Japan, which considers them an occupied part of the country.