Japan terms disputed islands illegally occupied by Russia

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Japan terms disputed islands illegally occupied by Russia

On Friday, Japan described four disputed islands as illegally occupied by Russia for the first time in nearly two decades as tensions between the countries over the war in Ukraine.

The islands held by Moscow and claimed by Tokyo remain a key sticking point, despite the fact that the two nations have been engaged in trying to agree a post-World War II treaty.

In its annual policy report in 2003, Japan's foreign ministry used the expression to describe the islands, which Moscow calls the Kurils and Tokyo the Northern Territories.

This year's Diplomatic Bluebook report comes at a time when tough sanctions are being imposed on Russia by Japan and its G 7 partners, and ahead of a major revision to Japan's national security strategy later this year.

The Northern Territories are the biggest concern between Japan and Russia, and are currently illegally occupied by Russia. Similar languages have been used in previous years but without the illegally occupied phrase, it said.

The Ukrainian crisis would stall its treaty talks with Russia, according to the ministry.

Moscow dropped the talks last month, citing the impossibility of continuing discussions, as Tokyo was trying to harm the interests of our country. On Friday, a spokesman for the Russian Federation said it was very difficult to talk about the continuation of the negotiations, as Japan has become an unfriendly country and that it has joined in a whole series of hostile actions towards our country.

Friday's report took a cautious tone on China, even though Japan previously expressed concern over Beijing's increasing maritime activities in the region.

It is important to build a stable and constructive relationship between Japan and China, while reiterating concerns over Beijing's attempts to change the status quo by force in the East and South China Seas.