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Russia conducting opinion poll of Northern Territories residents on return of islands to Japan

NHK reported online on Wednesday afternoon that the government-affiliated Russian Public Opinion Research Center began interviewing Russian residents on the islands of Etorofu, Kunashiri, and Shikotan on Feb. 12 to ask them whether they are aware that Japan is seeking the return of the four Northern Islands and whether Russia should return the islands. This poll is expected to be conducted until Feb. 17 and the results will be announced as soon as next week. NHK pointed out that the legislature of Sakhalin Oblast, which has jurisdiction over the Northern Territories, is demanding an end to discussions with Japan on the return of the islands based on the islanders’ opposition and that the poll results may further fuel opposition.

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