Russia-Japan dispute over Kurils reflects mounting tensions in North East Asia - World Socialist Web Site
Russia-Japan dispute over Kurils reflects mounting tensions in North East Asia
By Gary Alvernia
5 April 2018
In the midst of acute tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Russia announced in January that it intended to base military aircraft in the Kuril Islands, which are claimed by Japan as its Northern Territories. While portrayed by Western media as an aggressive Russian provocation, the decision is in response to the military threats by the US, backed by Japan, to attack North Korea if it does not bow to Washington’s demands to denuclearise.
The Kuril Islands, situated between the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido and the Kamchatka Peninsula on the eastern coast of Russia, are currently controlled by the latter nation. Japan responded angrily to the Russian plan to base military aircraft in a newly-constructed civilian airport on Iturup, one of the more populated islands. The aircraft will bolster existing missile defence systems on Iturup, following a decision last November to build a naval base on Matua, another island.