Japan Recalls Its Envoy to Moscow over Medvedev’s Visit to South Kuril Islands
Konstantin Kosachyov, chairman of the international affairs committee in the State Duma, denounced the decision to recall the ambassador as a mistake.
MOSCOW. November 2. VOSTOK-MEDIA – Tokyo said Tuesday it temporarily calls its ambassador, Masaharu Kono, back from Moscow.
The move comes after the Medvedev’s Monday visit to the disputed Kunashir Island, off Japan’s northern coast. Japan claims Kunashir as part of its Northern Territories “which continues to be illegally occupied by Russia”.
In diplomatic practice the decision to call back an ambasador has often preceded war. Japan and Russia are still technically at war. The long-standing territorial dispute between the two countries over the South Kuril Islands is the main reason why the countries have not yet signed a peace treaty.
In an interview to the Interfax, Konstantin Kosachyov, chairman of the international affairs committee in the State Duma, denounced the decision to recall the ambassador as a mistake. Kosachov believes that the Japanese government’s actions are likely to be aimed to influence public opinion in Japan.
The diplomatic spat between Russia and Japan comes amid another heated territorial dispute between Japan and China over the Senkaku Islands. On September 7, a Chinese fishing vessel collided with a Japanese Coast Guard boat in disputed waters near the island, which resulted in arrest of the captain of the fishing boat. However, after numerous reciprocal accusations and reproaches the dispute was settled. But today the tensions in Sino-Japanese relations may flare up after Japanese lawmakers have been shown a video of the September collision, which according to Japanese media outlets, provides an undeniable evidence of the Chinese captain’s fault.
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