Russia drops peace talks with Japan over Ukraine

Japan and Russia have complex relations and did not sign a peace treaty after World War II

March 22, 2022 04:21 am | Updated 04:21 am IST - Moscow

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. File

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. File | Photo Credit: AP

Russia said on Monday it was abandoning talks with Japan aimed at signing a formal World War II peace treaty, due to Tokyo's tough response on Moscow's military action in Ukraine.

Russia responded after Japan acted with Group of Seven partners to pressure Moscow over its actions in Ukraine with a series of sanctions on Russian financial institutions and chip exports.

Japan and Russia have complex relations and did not sign a peace treaty after World War II because of a lingering dispute over four islands claimed by Moscow in the closing days of the conflict.

"The Russian side, in the current conditions, does not intend to continue talks with Japan on the peace treaty," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

It said this was "due to the impossibility of discussing the core document on bilateral relations with a country that has taken an openly hostile position and is striving to cause harm to the interests of our country".

Moscow said it was also ending a visa-free regime for Japanese people to visit the disputed islands and was pulling out of talks on joint economic activity there.

"All the responsibility for the harm to our bilateral cooperation and the interests of Japan itself lies with ... Tokyo," the Ministry said, accusing Japan of "consciously choosing an anti-Russian course".

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on Saturday in an attempt to persuade New Delhi to condemn Russia's actions in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japan's former prime minister Shinzo Abe, who resigned in 2020, met dozens of times to attempt to resolve the long-running territorial dispute.

The islands, off the coast of Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido, are known as the southern Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan.

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