Japan protests Russian move to drop peace talks over Ukraine
Japan condemns Russia's decision to halt peace talks and ban visa-free trips to the Kuril Islands.
Japan said Tuesday it "strongly protests" Russia's decision to abandon talks on a World War II peace treaty because of Tokyo's strong response to the special operation in Ukraine.
"The latest situation occurred as a result of Russia's aggression against Ukraine, and Russia's attempt to shift the issue to Japan-Russia relations is extremely unjustified and unacceptable," Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in Parliament.
Japan condemns Russia for its actions to "unilaterally change the status quo by force," he said.
For years, Japan and Russia have attempted to reach an agreement on a post-World War II treaty, but the status of four islands held by Moscow and claimed by Tokyo has been a key sticking point.
However, Russia said it would drop the talks, citing the "impossibility" of continuing discussions "with a country that has taken an openly hostile position and is striving to cause harm to the interest of our country."
Moscow added that it would end a visa-free regime for Japanese people to visit the disputed islands and was pulling out of talks on the joint economic activity there.
Japan has followed in the footsteps of its allies by imposing tough sanctions hitting Russian financial institutions and the country's leadership.
Earlier, Japan has sanctioned 15 Russian individuals and nine additional businesses in connection with the military operation in Ukraine, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry on Friday.
The list of the sanctioned persons includes, among others, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, as well as four deputy defense ministers: Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, Aleksey Krivoruchko, Timur Ivanov, and Dmitry Bulgakov.
Japanese sanctions also targeted Russian defense companies such as Rosoboronexport, Russian Helicopters, and United Aircraft Corporation.
Yesterday, the Russian Foreign Ministry revealed that Moscow is refusing to continue negotiations with Japan on a peace treaty with Tokyo's implementation of sanctions against Russia in the background.
"The Russian side, under the current conditions, does not intend to continue negotiations with Japan on the peace treaty as it is impossible to discuss the signing of a fundamental document on bilateral relations with a state that takes openly unfriendly positions and seeks to harm the interests of our country," the Ministry said in a statement.
Russia is also blocking the extension of Japan's status as a dialogue partner in the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation.
Russia had launched a special military operation for several reasons, such as NATO's eastward expansion, the Ukrainian shelling of Donbass, and the aggression of Ukrainian forces against the Donetsk People's Republic and Lugansk People's Republic, which has been ongoing since 2014, as well as denazifying and demilitarizing Ukraine.