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Gov’t refrains from affirming Northern Islands are “integral part of Japanese territory”

NHK reported online that the cabinet decided at a meeting this morning that it will refrain from responding to a written inquiry from independent Upper House member Hiroyuki Konishi who asked if the four Northern Islands are an integral part of Japanese territory on the grounds that this might affect negotiations with the Russian government. Konishi asked the question in light of his perception that the Abe cabinet is “stubbornly refusing” to make such a statement in the Diet. On the other hand, in response to Konishi’s question on whether the policy of “resolving the territorial issue in order to sign a peace treaty” is exactly the same as the previous policy of “resolving the issue of sovereignty over the four Northern Islands in order to sign a peace treaty,” the cabinet answered that “our consistent position is that sovereignty over the four Northern Islands is the subject of negotiations.”

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