Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that if the South Kuril Islands are handed over to Japan, the creation of US military bases on those islands will be possible only after Tokyo gives its consent, RIA Novosti reported, citing Kyodo News Agency.
The United States has the right to establish military bases in Japan. However, in the case of the Kuril Islands, the deployment location must be coordinated with the Japanese government, Abe stated.
Meanwhile, Abe gave no answer to journalists’ questions about the discussion of this issue with the Russians. The Prime Minister noted that such comments "may adversely affect the course of the negotiations."
Earlier, the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center published its survey results where three quarters (77%) of polled Russians oppose the transfer of the Kuril Islands to Japan.
On January 22, another round of talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Abe was held in Moscow. During the talks, the parties discussed the peace treaty and ownership of the Kuril Islands. After the negotiations, Russian presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stated that the Kremlin "does not yet see any changes in Japan’s position." A new meeting between the heads of state is planned for June 2019.
Japan does not recognize Russian sovereignty over the Iturup, Shikotan, Kunashir and Habomai islands. They were ceded to the USSR at the end of the World War II. Russia and Japan have never signed a peace treaty because of the dispute over the ownership of the islands.
In November, after Abe and Putin’s meeting, Japan revealed its readiness to return to the Soviet-Japanese Joint Declaration of 1956. In it, the USSR agreed to transfer to Japan the Habomai archipelago and Shikotan Island after the two countries sign a peace treaty.