Monday, November 01, 2010

Occupied Territory

Russia occupies four islands that belong to Japan. They have done so ever since the end of World War II. While Japan agrees Russia could conquer the Kuril islands, the four islands between the Kurils and the Japanese island of Hokkaido have always been part of Japan. They are called the Northern Territory. There is no way Japan could agree on the secession of these traditionally Japanese islands. About 17,000 Japanese lived in these islands before the Soviet Union occupied them in 1945.

Today, Russian president Dimitri Medvedev has visited one of these Russian-controlled Japanese islands. Japan has, understandably, responded to this hostile act . The Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan called the visit regrettable. Russia's envoy to Japan was summoned. Russia did not respond in a proper fashion, but called the Japanese reaction "unacceptable". I believe the Japanese reaction was very mild. How many countries would react in such a lenient way to a foreign country occupying part of its territory? Russia should be happy it is dealing with the Japanese, and not with any more hostile people. Control of the Northern Territory should be returned to Japan as soon as possible.

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