When respondents were asked [in the Nikkei Inc./TV Tokyo public opinion poll conducted on Nov. 25–27] what stance Japan should take in its negotiations with Russia regarding the return of the Northern Territories, 60% said, “In its negotiations with Russia, Japan should aim for at least the partial return of the Northern Territories,” up 6 percentage points from August, the last time this question was asked. Meanwhile, 29% said that “Japan should aim to have all four islands returned,” down 7 points.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will arrive in Japan on Dec. 15, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will meet with him to negotiate a peace treaty. A Ministry of Foreign Affairs official commented: “The discussion of economic cooperation is moving along, but the territorial negotiations will not be easy.”
Although the future path for resolving the territorial issue may not be clear, it looks like the public is seeking a pragmatic solution that does not insist on the reversion of all four islands.
[Polling methodology: The telephone poll was conducted on Nov. 25–27 by Nikkei Research Inc. targeting men and women, aged 18 and over, nationwide on a random digit dialing (RDD) basis, including mobile phones [as well as landlines]. A total of 1,018 valid responses were received for a response rate of 46.1%.]