Tokyo, Jan. 20 (Jiji Press)–Japan’s National Museum of Territory and Sovereignty is set to reopen on Tuesday, in the Kasumigaseki central government district in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward.
The new museum has about seven times more floor space than its predecessor and more exhibits related to four Russian-held northwestern Pacific islands claimed by Japan. English explanations on items on display will be available through tablet computers.
The museum originally opened in January 2018 in Hibiya Park in the same ward in the Japanese capital to demonstrate Japan’s stance on territorial issues involving the country.
The previous museum mainly provided information on the islands of Takeshima in the Sea of Japan, effectively controlled by South Korea and claimed by Japan, and the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, claimed by China. The islands of Takeshima are known as Dokdo in South Korea and the Senkaku Islands as Diaoyu in China.
At the relocated museum, the four Russian-controlled islands, off Hokkaido, northern Japan, are described as inherent territory of Japan whose legally groundless occupation by Russia has been continuing.
The Japanese government has officially been refraining from using such words as inherent territory and illegal occupation for the islands since Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed at their meeting in 2018 to accelerate bilateral peace treaty talks based on the 1956 Japan-Soviet joint deceleration.
The islands, known as the Northern Territories in Japan, were seized by the Soviet Union from Japan at the end of World War II, and the territorial row has been preventing Tokyo and Moscow from concluding a peace treaty to formally end their wartime hostilities.
The 1956 declaration stipulated that two of the four islands–the Habomais and Shikotan–be handed over to Japan after the conclusion of a World War II peace treaty.
“We want to hold special exhibitions at the museum and events elsewhere, offer lectures by experts and storytellers, and promote students’ visits to the museum on their school trips,” Seiichi Eto, Japanese minister for issues related to the Northern Territories, said at a ceremony held at the new museum on Monday.
Also among participants in the ceremony was Hokkaido Governor Naomichi Suzuki.