Russia has pulled out of peace treaty talks with Japan and frozen joint economic projects related to the disputed Kuril Islands over Tokyo’s sanctions on Ukraine, prompting an angry response from Japan.
Russia and Japan did not officially end hostilities in World War II due to the clash over islands off Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido, known in Russia as the Kuriles and in Japan as the Northern Territories.
The Soviets took over the islands at the end of World War II.
“Under current conditions, Russia does not intend to continue negotiations with Japan on a peace treaty,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, citing “Japan’s publicly hostile positions and its attempts to damage the interests of our country”.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he strongly opposes Russia’s decision, calling it “unfair” and “totally unacceptable.”
Last week, Japan announced plans to revoke Russia’s MFN trading status, extend the asset freeze on Russian elites and ban imports of some products.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said last year that both Tokyo and Moscow wanted good relations and said it was absurd that they had not reached a peace agreement.
The statement said Russia has also withdrawn from talks with Japan on joint business ventures in the Kuril Islands and has ended visa-free travel for Japanese citizens.