• 0

    noborito

    "Should Russia return the four disputed islands off Hokkaido to Japan?" is incorrect. It should be "Should Russia return the four Japanese disputed islands off Hokkaido to Japan?" From the Russian point of view there is no dispute. Those islands are part of Russia. Give it up Japan.

  • 0

    flammenwerfer

    Give up Japan? Actually the Russians are third in line. I believe the Ainu have the original claim to those Islands, the Japanese took control in the Edo before the Russians muscled in. I doubt there will be a resolution to this, the Russians are too entrenched now, much like a certain group in the Holy lands.

  • 0

    neverknow2

    When Japan returns all the money it made from slave labor during WW2, then Russia should give back the islands.

  • 0

    JoeBigs

    neverknow2 at 08:54 AM JST - 8th June When Japan returns all the money it made from slave labor during WW2, then Russia should give back the islands.

    Always one in the crowd that starts yelling about how they hate Japan. Funny how most of them live here.....

    Russia took those Islands in an underhanded manner. Those Islands belong to Japan and should be returned. Maybe if Japan was a bit more stern with Russia it would do the right thing.

    But knowing about Russia and it's treaties the Islands will not be returned.

  • 0

    mummet

    though this about one island and from wikipedia it gives an accurate History that shows Russias right to those Islands are not unfounded. Japan lost the war and signed the San Francisco treaty they gave up claim to those Islands. It would be like Germany trying to claim Prussian lands it lost after WWII. The borders changed after WWII and Japan needs to deal with that, it lost the war and deserved to lose its territorial integrity. they are lucky they didnt lose more, had it not been for the cold war Japan would have lost alot more than a few scattered Islands.

    Russian fur traders appeared in the 18th century, hunting sea otter and seizing foreign ships in the area. There were clashes between the Russians and the Ainu in 1772, and the Russians left for a time, but soon returned. G.F. Muller’s Voyages & Découvertes faites par les Russes (Amsterdam, 1766) contained a list and description of the Kuril islands, including Urup whose people were said to trade with the Japanese but were not under their control. A small Russian presence was established on Urup by the fur trader Ivan Chernyi in 1768, acting on instructions from the governor of Siberia. During the 1770s it was the base for attempts to establish trade with the Japanese on Yezo (Hokkaido) which came to an end when it was destroyed by a tsunami in June 1780.[2] In 1801, the Japanese government officially claimed control of the island, incorporating it into Ezo Province (now Hokkaidō Prefecture). This would soon lead to clashes with Russia over Urup and the other Kurils. The island officially became Russian territory in 1855, with a treaty that established a border at the strait between Urup and Etorofu (Iturup), but was traded back to Japan twenty years later in exchange for Sakhalin Island. It was during this time that the island came under the administration of the Hokkaidō prefectural authorities, and the Ainu were forced out. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urup

  • 0

    Brunobear

    JP run this question every month it seems. I think the islands should go to the Palestinians as a homeland and both Russia and Japan surrender their claims. If Russia gives them back to Japan, it should be only on the basis they become a whale sanctuary. If the Japanese cannot stomach a whale sanctuary, what about a missile and nuclear testing ground for the North Koreans where they deposit their surplus hungry people. Maybe the islands could become a new education destination for disgruntled Indian economic refugees posing as students in Australia. Or maybe the US could use the islands as a haven for people who failed to make a payment on their sub-prime loans and issue them with a free tent. Maybe they could be leveled and used as a global warming crisis centre for those who like cooler climates. Maybe we just forget about them.

  • 0

    hokkaidoguy

    Yes, in exchange for settling the peace treaty, some substantial trade agreements, tech transfer agreements and perhaps some guarantees of investment in oil and gas field development elsewhere in the east. And a clause that gets Russia out of any and all liability for environmental cleanup of the islands.

    I'm pretty sure they'd go for a mutually beneficial deal like that - because the islands are pretty much worthless to Russia. They provide a minuscule percentage of Russia's annual fish catch, and a very small airbase that's no longer in use. That's about it. The population of the islands routinely relies on Hokkaido for basic services (shopping, auto and boat parts, fuel and so forth from Nemuro, and emergency health care from Kushiro) - because the islands are too far from the rest of Russia to be served properly. Oh, and the Northern islands are prone to very large quakes (M7+) once or twice a year.

    If Japan wants them, and they're willing to reach a settlement, give 'em back. Nothing to lose and everything to gain. God only knows what Japan will do with them, though - probably be best to turn them into a park.

  • 0

    nisegaijin

    No, it has been agreed for these island to become Russian under the treaty. Those islands are recognized by UN as Russian. the UN should impose sanctions against Japan for trying to claim those islands and failure to sign peace treaty with Russia despite their defeat in WW2.

    Look, just because you want something doesn't mean you gonna get it. End of story.

  • 0

    stirfry

    dumb poll...doesn't matter what the answers are, it won't be decided by those answers...plus, of course, japan will never get them back anyway

  • 0

    maksonoil

    Hokkaido should claim independence from Japan.

  • 0

    amerijap

    Hmmm. I'm still having trouble understanding a historical background of the northern territories regarding the mobility of indigenous tribes(Ainu) as well as their geographic condition. Were the four islands already separated from either northern part of Japan(Hokkaido prefecture) or Russia? I mean, were there once the bridges that connected the northern province of Japan and the south-eastern edge of Russia or both so that Ainu people were able to move freely from one territory to another for their lives(until the bridges were washed off due to plate tectonics movement)?

    As far as I read the sources from wikipedia, it implies that Ainu people may have some mobility to migrate from the northern part of Japan to Russia, or even to the north America while the bridges were in the Bering Strait. But I’m not very positive. They seem to have been stranded in the islands caught between Japan and Russia. I know Alaska-- a territory in Bering Strait-- was dealt from Russian empire to the US in 1867. But this case is quite as hard as bamboo island(Chikushima)that is also in a dispute between Japan and S. Korea.

  • 0

    cwhite

    just continue to call them the disputed islands, makes for a great ice breaker at political events. It's good to have some disputed territory that multiple countries can relate to and waste time talking about nothing.

    Now, my question to all of you is for the people living on the island: 1) Who do they pay taxes to? 2) What is the area phone code? 3) Postcode and address? 4) Which side of the road do they drive? 5) Main currency? 6) Who is paying for maintenance, roads, clean water, etc? 7) Main language, schools, hospitals, etc?

    As you can see if life is moving along regardless of the political aspects then who cares...

  • 0

    nigelboy

    though this about one island and from wikipedia it gives an accurate History that shows Russias right to those Islands are not unfounded.

    Japan lost the war and signed the San Francisco treaty they gave up claim to those Islands. It would be like Germany trying to claim Prussian lands it lost after WWII. The borders changed after WWII and Japan needs to deal with that, it lost the war and deserved to lose its territorial integrity. they are lucky they didnt lose more, had it not been for the cold war Japan would have lost alot more than a few scattered Islands.

    Japan had to relinquish the land taken by "violence and greed". However, the northern territories were never part of Kuril Island chain as confirmed by Japan and Russia in 1855 and 1875.

  • 0

    shiratori

    What is the point of this poll? For Japan UN positions, treaties, etc., do not exist.Only Japanese point of view is the rightest one: we can take other countries` territories when we win wars but nobody can take our lands when we lose wars.It sounds itiotic.I know.But that is what their school books basically say.

  • 0

    amerijap

    Now, my question to all of you is for the people living on the island: 1) Who do they pay taxes to? 2) What is the area phone code? 3) Postcode and address? 4) Which side of the road do they drive? 5) Main currency? 6) Who is paying for maintenance, roads, clean water, etc? 7) Main language, schools, hospitals, etc?

    I really have no ideas. The islands are much smaller than Alaska, Hawaii, and the Okinawa prefecture. I don't even know if the northern islands have such infrastructures that we see in the Sado Island. Do they?

  • 0

    Kwaabish

    When Japan returns all the money it made from slave labor during WW2, then Russia should give back the islands.

    Plenty of Japanese citizens were taken to gulags and sued for slave labor in Siberia after the war, and considering that the Soviets/Russians broke the non-agression pact and attacked Japan, I'd say that the Russians made off with much more than they suffered. So the islands should be given back then, right?

  • 0

    Wakarimasen

    No - about time we left all the war resentments behind and moved on. That applies to Yasukuni alos, and Nanking, and Hiroshima etc.

  • 0

    BurakuminDes

    I'd take a punt that the greater majority of residents there consider themselves Russian, certainly not Japanese. But having never been there, I can't say for sure.

  • 0

    Badsey

    If you expect to get, you must give first. What are the Japanese people willing to give-up for these islands?

  • 0

    Tosaken

    mummet at 09:22 AM JST - 8th June

    You do realise that wikipedia is written for the people by the people & anyone with half a mind to do so can write what they believe a particular history was? Maybe I should go to wikipedia and re-write the whole history of the second world war so that is suits me. I could have it that the Russians broke a peace treaty with Japan so as to get their hands on as much Japanese land as possible before the surrender was declared, because what should have happened was that no land taken after August 15th. 1945 should have been covered by the San Francisco treaty & no Russia hadn’t taken those islands by that date, even if wikipedia says otherwise. As for the Ainu, they can have all “their lands” back when the North American Indians get New York back. Well it does cut both ways, if you push it that far.

  • 0

    womanforwomen

    Russia does is not doing anything productive with the massive piece of land it has so why not give the islands to Japan. Japan is overflowing and needs more land.

  • 0

    jonnyboy

    there was an interesting article about this (and similar international diplomatic disputes) in the japan times some time ago. the basic point was that japan has a tendency to be as stubborn as a mule. it believes its claim to be valid, and will not enter into discussion or compromise since it believes that even doing that is unthinkable since its claim is (as far as they are concerned) valid. the result? complete stalemate.

    and they wonder why they don't have a seat on the security council

  • 0

    BurakuminDes

    Russia does is not doing anything productive with the massive piece of land it has so why not give the islands to Japan. Japan is overflowing and needs more land.

    That was the exact same argument Hitler used when he invaded Poland pre-WW2. Sorry, Japan has coped with it's area of land, and the population is now shrinking, so it isn't a problem. Anyway, the several hundred thousand people who have lived on these islands for generations - a mixture of caucasian, Korean and NE Asian native people - are not going to be instantly granted Japanese Passports and citizenship in the unlikely event these islands were given over to the rulers in Tokyo, are they?

    The whole question is just a moot point anyway. Japan should stop claiming land they will never have, just as Germany does not claim half of Poland that was taken from her control post WW2. Japan would have far more chance of taking control of some of the Hawaiian Islands!

  • 0

    hokkaidoguy

    BurakuminDes-

    Anyway, the several hundred thousand people who have lived on these islands for generations - a mixture of caucasian, Korean and NE Asian native people ....

    Japan isn't claiming Sakhalin. It claims the four islands directly to the east of Hokkaido, one of which is uninhabited. The total population of the other 3 islands is somewhere around 16,000. If you've managed to get the basics of the issue completely and utterly wrong, just imagine what else you're missing about the issue...

  • 0

    BurakuminDes

    Japan isn't claiming Sakhalin. It claims the four islands directly to the east of Hokkaido, one of which is uninhabited. The total population of the other 3 islands is somewhere around 16,000. If you've managed to get the basics of the issue completely and utterly wrong, just imagine what else you're missing about the issue...

    I stand corrected to your superior knowledge of the northern regions, Hokkaidoguy. However, I stick to my opinion: The whole issue is merely a moot point, Japan does not *need * this land as a previous poster claimed. My guess is the UN is not looking favourably upon Japan for continually pressing this territorial issue. Why would the UN - and other nations - wish to trigger one hell of a mess by even entertaining these claims?

  • 0

    hokkaidoguy

    Here's a list of all the current territorial disputes in the world:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Listofterritorial_disputes

    Feel free to do your own checking on all of them, if you're one of those people who doesn't trust wikipedia. But have a look anyways.

    This issue between Japan and Russia is hardly unique in the world.

    It's also got absolutely nothing to do with the UN - whose official position on territorial disputes is that it's between the nations involved to resolve the claims, unless both parties request international mediation or it's the cause of a shooting war (in which case mediation is backed with peacekeepers and so forth. See Cyprus.). Even if it was a UN issue in the terms you describe, the UN would have a hard time finding ANY nation to "look favourably" on, except perhaps the Vatican.

    You're free to have a look at the list and decide which ones are valid and which ones aren't based on your own images of the parties involved, and whether or not they "need" the territory, in your opinion - but you're going to have to accept that your opinion is not worth a whole lot, given that you seem to have no grasp of the subject. Just a lot of strong opinions based on... what, exactly?

  • 0

    BurakuminDes

    I originally stated that I did not think a previous poster's argument that Japan "needs the land because it is overflowing" and could "put it to better use than Russia", was a valid argument in resolving territorial disputes. To me, "needing the land" is not a valid point of a claim, and indeed, this is not Japan's reason for the claim.

    I will leave Wikipedia Warriors such as yourself to maintain the rage on this issue, because I'm over it now to be honest.

  • 0

    Sarge

    Yes. I'm tired of hearing the uyoku screaming for the return of the islands.

  • 0

    Den Den

    Nobody buys Russian crabs, but if the Islanders can label the crabs as Japanese, the 16000 inhabitants will hit the jackpot!

  • 0

    grafton

    Den Den at 11:55 PM JST - 10th June

    “Nobody buys Russian crabs, but if the Islanders can label the crabs as Japanese, the 16000 inhabitants will hit the jackpot!”

    Not the most valuable contribution to the discussion, still, in answer to it, you do realise that like the Chinese the Russians use labels of convenience & would (& maybe even are) use a “Japanese” label.

  • 0

    mummet

    Tosaken As to the validity of wikipedia, being an academic I realise its flaws but its a reasonably accurate readily available resource for all. Yes you could rewrite wikipedia but doing so doesnt prove anything. My point was that Russia was involved with that Island and thus can make a historical claim to it. The interaction of peoples in those islands was not a one way affair and Japans historical claim to them is not as finite as many think. I think it would be great if American Indians got compensation or parts of their land back that goes for North and South. You may want to try and bait an American with that line. I dont think the Islands should go back to Japan, yes Russia did break the non-aggression pact with japan, however Japan attempted an invasion of the soviet union in 1939 it launched a surprise attack against Russia in 1905, Japan historically has been the aggressor against Russia. If Russia had not invaded Japan might not have surrendered because the real reason Japan surrendered was fear of communist Russia. Japan being the aggressor in WWII deserved to lose its territory.

  • 0

    Brunobear

    mummet: The Kuril Islands extend 1,200 kms from the southern tip of Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia to the north eastern corner of Hokkaido, Japan and separate the Sea of Okhotsk from the Pacific Ocean. the 56 island cover 15,600 sq. km. The chain is part of the belt of geological instability circling the Pacific. The islands have at least 100 volcanoes of which 35 or so are still active and many hot springs, earthquakes and tidal waves are common. The climate of the islands is severe with long cold snowy winters and cool wet foggy summers. Vegetation ranges from tundra in the northern islands to dense forests on the larger southern islands. The only significant occupation is crab fishing. Some vegetables are grown on the southern islands.

    The Kurils were originally settled by the Russians following their exploration in the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1855 Japan seized the southern islands and in 1875 took possession of the entire chain.

    In 1945 as part of the Yalta agreement the islands were ceded to the then Soviet Union and the Japanese population was repatriated and replaced by Soviets. Japan still claims historical rights to the four southern islands.

    Japan has been the aggressor and must suffers the consequences when it was defeated. The Soviets however, did not fight Japan in WW11 as the US and its western allies did. They only declared war on Japan when the war was days from ending on 8 August 1945. Whether they actually invaded and took possession before Japan surrendered several days later, I don't know. But is seems Russia's claim comes from a prospective carve up of the spoils of war sorted out at between Britain, the US and the soviets at Yalta.

    The decision should come down to a referendum by the mixed race inhabitants of the four disputed southern islands. The entitlements and responsibilities that Japan will deliver them if they vote to join Japan must be irrevocable and set out in the referendum documents.

    I cannot imagine the Russians would agree but a poll of the inhabitants would be interesting.

  • 0

    kyourin

    it's a constant reminder to Japan of what it means to wage war (aside from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing). In this globalized community one would be normally swayed to the idea that it is only just to return the islands to its rightful owners.

  • 0

    Triple888

    If they are disputed they belong to nobody.

  • 0

    LIBERTAS

    The islands are Russian. Period. Get over it, Japan, Ivan will never give them back, nor should they. Regardless of how many Muneo Houses Suzuki Muneo builds on them.

  • 0

    hellhound

    I don't care, I am not either russian or japanese

  • 0

    Brunobear

    Japan might start acting honorably with the poor countries of the South Pacific and provide them with assistance to sustain them and not just drip feed them a few yen to get their vote on whaling. Japan has not yet learned that not only must it be a good citizen it must be abundantly seen to be a good citizen if it wants support to recover any of its former pre WW11 territories. It is highly unlikely it will get the islands on its present "we don't care what the world that has rebuilt us thinks" diplomacy. People of other nations have to want to give territory back. Japan is an insular country and wasted an abundance of opportunities over the past 40 years. To have a friend you have to be a friend!

  • 0

    VoXman

    As Stalin decided to wait until the Japanese military was on its knees to sweep in Manchuria, Korea , and the Kurils with the intent on invading Hokaido, the Soviets were merely stealing from the allies plate that which so many others died fighting for. So they were compelled to return Manchuria, and North Korea-not before leaving a Communist dictator in place, and told that they could have the Kurils which the ignorant allies assumed had no value to the Japanese. Well they do, like the Aleutians have value to the US. So from that stand point the Kurils were a spoil that only the as the victor the US could claim, and since the US returned to the Japanese ALL the original lands they held or were granted to them since the end of the first world war with the exception of Korea since it was not a spoil taken from an aggressor as Japan was the aggressor in that, the Kurils belong to the Japanese in the same way as Iwo Jima does. Yet in there, 8,000 plus US died there, still it was returned to Japan. Return the Kurils.

  • 0

    Seiharinokaze

    I dont think the Islands should go back to Japan, yes Russia did break the non-aggression pact with japan, however Japan attempted an invasion of the soviet union in 1939 it launched a surprise attack against Russia in 1905, Japan historically has been the aggressor against Russia.

    mummet

    Siberia and Littoral province are no less than the result of Russian expansionism. Please compare the size of Russia with that of Japan: 17 million square km to 0.37 million km2. After defeating Napoleon in 19th century, Russia became more aggressive going down the Balkan Peninsula and over the Caucasus to the Middle East while taking the Baltic area. They just behaved similarly in the Far East too. Do you still say that Japan was categorically expansionistic against Russia?

    At any rate the U.S. instigated the Soviets to break the neutral treaty and enter the war on the Allied side against Japan giving the Kuriles away as collateral. As a result they invaded and took illegally the islands which belong to Japan as per the Treaty of Saint Petersburg of 1875. So in this point the U.S. (along with Britain) conspired with Russia (then the Soviets) to violate the international law and commit a kind of crime against peace.

  • -1

    Zurg

    I voted no. Japan attacked Russia, they should understand the consequences. Japan should appoligize extensively for the next 50 years. Even though it happened over 50 years ago, it will take another 50 to gain confidence from them and others. Hopefully China will change on the way.

  • 0

    UnagiDon

    Japan attacked Russia, they should understand the consequences.

    Japan attacked Russia? Hardly. Perhaps you should understand history before lecturing others on lecturing the consequences.

  • 0

    Beerplease

    Without the island issue and that of the N. Korean abductees, Japan would turn on itself and society would fall apart--they need these issues of distraction.

  • 0

    TheMarion

    Japan agreed to the Cairo Accords which said that all lands taken by violence or greed shall be returned to their rightful owners and Japan signed these papers in agreement, but now wants to weasel out of their decision exactly as they did when the Emperor agreed to retun the Ryukyu Islands but then came the "secret agreement" Japan cannot be trusted...

  • 0

    mummet

    Seiharinokaze Im not talking about if Russia was an expansionist Empire or not, the size or Russia and Japan has no meaning to this discussion at all. If were talking about History I think it was the Yalta talks that it was decided Britain and US launch an Invasion in Western Europe to help the Russians then when Germany was defeated Russia being an allied power Since June 1941 would enter the war against Japan.

    Russia committed a crime against peace??? Because of Japan tens of millions of people lost their lives, I'm glad Russia entered the war against Japan it brought a swift conclusion to the end of the war and helped restore China. Try reading about Japans strategic dilemma of the Northern and Southern Strategies. Try arguing the point rather than trying to detract the argument.

    Either way it changes nothing, Japan started the war and if they had one the war in the Pacific they would have launched another war against the USSR. Japan lost, lost its territory and its time it came to deal with that.

  • 0

    Seiharinokaze

    mummet

    The Yalta was an occasion to coordinate the interests of the major powers on how to divide the post-war world. The Soviet Union was selectively supportive to the Allied powers being rather guileful in expanding its influence. The Kuriles and part of Poland and Germany were given to the Soviet Union as booty for their helping hand. Transfer of territories executed without the participation by the countries concerned, however, is against international law and also against the Cairo Communique which declared that the Allied powers "covet no gain for themselves and have no thought of territorial expansion." Don't you think that the Soviet Union was just as aggressive in the Far East as in East Europe? By what were the Kuriles taken if not by violence and greed?

    Russia committed a crime against peace??? Because of Japazn tens of millions of people lost their lives, I'm glad Russia entered the war against Japan it brought a swift conclusion to the end of the war and helped restore China.

    FYI because of the Soviet Union tens of millions of people lost their lives. And for a swift conclusion to the end of the war, by June 1945 the Japanese government sought to cease the war through the mediation of the Soviets basically accepting what Cordell Hull had proposed four years before. It's regrettable that the Allied powers ignored it and let the Soviets go to war.

  • 0

    mummet

    FYI because of the Soviet Union tens of millions of people lost their lives.

    Irrelevant, USSR did not start the war

    FYI

    After the war, Kentaro Suzuki and others from his government and their apologists claimed they were secretly working towards peace, and could not publicly advocate it. They cite the Japanese concept of haragei—"the art of hidden and invisible technique"—to justify the dissonance between their public actions and alleged behind-the-scenes work. However, many historians reject this interpretation. Robert J. C. Butow

    oh, you mean that effort by the japanese to cease the war. Please try and argue the Question all this provides nothing to the argument of Russia handing the Islands over or not, you're an apologist and just trying to detract from the question. What ever happened in the end the Islands are controlled by Russia and the international community largely accepts that they are Russian

  • 0

    Seiharinokaze

    mummet

    Japan had concluded a neutral treaty with the Soviets and was not in a state of war with her. It's the Soviets that broke the treaty and declared war on Japan. So, USSR entered the war with Japan, not vice versa. And the Kuriles were their loot taken by violence and greed.

    What ever happened in the end the Islands are controlled by Russia and the international community largely accepts that they are Russian.

    Sorry I don't know a person Kentaro Suzuki. But though I am not sure if Suzuki Kantaro's notorious "mokusatsu (黙殺)" of the Potsdam Declaration might not have been more aptly interpreted as "not deign to comment" instead of just "reject" or "ignore", I wonder why the efforts by the Japanese government to end the war behind the scenes through the mediation of the Soviets were rejected entirely.

    Anyhow, we have yet to see what will happen in the end for the islands. Japan has not yet concluded a peace treaty with Russia who did not sign the San Francisco Peace Treaty either.

  • 0

    betepunap

    Japanese spam: send me 1000 dollars and I will sign peace treaty with you.

  • 0

    tempura

    Not only that, they have to return Sakhalin as well.

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