1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites
A Russian tank on Shikotan Island, which forms part of the Kurils
Image: picture-alliance/Sputnik/A. Shapran

Russia urges Japan to 'accept result' of WW II

January 16, 2019

Russia's foreign minister has called on Tokyo to accept the outcome of the war in order to advance discussions on a peace plan. Russia and Japan have yet to sign a peace treaty since the end of World War II.


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday questioned whether Japan had fully embraced the results of World War II when it came to resolving a territorial dispute that could pave the way for a peace treaty.

Speaking during an annual press conference, Lavrov said recognizing the outcome of World War II "is neither an ultimatum nor a precondition" for talks.

"It is an inevitable and indispensable factor in today's international system," said Lavrov. "Why is Japan the only country in the world that cannot accept the result of World War II in their entirety?"

Read more: Can Abe make any headway in territorial row with Russia?

Tokyo wants 'peace'

At the end of World War II, Japan and Russia did not sign a peace treaty. In 1956, they issued a joint declaration that the then-Soviet Union was willing to cede Shikotan and Habomai, two islands that form part of the disputed Kuril Islands the Red Army captured in the final days of the war.

Moscow has urged Japan to accept the document as the basis for negotiations. But Tokyo has repeatedly said Russia is aware of its position in the talks.

"We continue to work persistently based on our basic policy that we aim to resolve the issue of the islands and have peace," said Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga last week.

Read more: Opinion: Germany's illusions about Putin and Russia

A former Japanese Imperial Army tank left behind on Shumshu Island
The islands were captured by the Soviet Union towards the end of World War IIImage: picture alliance/MAXPPP

Troubled waters

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are scheduled to meet in Moscow next week to discuss a settlement, which would pave the way for a peace treaty to formally end World War II hostilities.

Last year, Putin and Abe agreed to accelerate talks for a peace deal. Since then, both countries have witnessed protests; in Russia, demonstrators rallied against ceding control of the islands, while in Tokyo, they called on the government to reclaim the territory.

Every evening, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

ls/rc (Reuters, AFP)

Skip next section Explore more
Skip next section Related topics
Skip next section DW's Top Story

DW's Top Story

A Ukrainian serviceman looks on, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Bakhmut

Ukraine updates: Russian forces claim to encircle Bakhmut

Skip next section More stories from DW
Go to homepage