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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, May 7, 2012 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The Northern Territories issue


REPORTER: I have a question related to the Northern Territories issue. According to some reports, Minister for Foreign Affairs Koichiro Gemba implied that discussions will be held first on the confirmation of the attribution and handover of the two islands - Habomai and Shikotan - with a view to resolving the Northern Territories issue. What is the Government's viewpoint on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: First, while I have not closely looked at the reports in detail, I have the slight impression that there is a misunderstanding. The position of the Government of Japan is consistent, which is to resolve the issue of the attribution of the four islands and to conclude a peace treaty. If it is confirmed that the four islands belong to Japan, then Japan will be flexible with the timing and manner of the actual return. I believe Japanwill continue to hold negotiations with Russia based on this policy.

REPORTER: Related to this, in 2001, the Japanese Government proposed to hold separate but parallel discussions on the handover of Habomai and Shikotan and the attribution of Kunashiri and Etorofu. Does Japan have any plans to once again propose such a format for the consultations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: In 2001, Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori and President Vladimir Putin signed the Irkutsk Statement, which states nothing of the sort you described. The Irkutsk Statement confirmed that the 1956 Japan-Soviet Joint Declaration is a basic legal document that established the starting point in the negotiation process for the conclusion of a peace treaty. The other is that it confirmed that a peace treaty will be concluded through the solution of issues concerning the attribution of the four islands on the basis of the Tokyo Declaration of the time of Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa in 1993. I am quite certain that the Irkutsk Statement does not make any mention of the two islands and so on.


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