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Friday, September 22, 2023

Japan Fumes as Russia Declares September 3 “Anti-Militaristic Victory Day”

The recent dispute between Japan and Russia further strains their already delicate relationship, marred by historical disagreements

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JAPAN/RUSSIA: Tensions escalate between Japan and Russia as Japan voices its strong objection to Russia’s decision to designate September 3 as the day symbolizing the defeat of “militaristic” Japan. The move, according to Japanese officials, is anticipated to further strain bilateral relations and deepen the existing antagonism between the two nations.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno of Japan openly criticized Russia’s renaming of the September 3 celebration as the Day of Victory against Militaristic Japan. Matsuno expressed regret over the bill, warning that it might fuel anti-Japanese sentiment among the Russian population.

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September 3 holds significance as the day when Japan officially renounced its wartime positions, effectively concluding the Pacific and Asian theaters of World War II. However, due to a territorial dispute over four islands north of Hokkaido, which Japan claims but Russia currently controls, the two countries have been unable to finalize a peace treaty since the end of the war.

The bill received approval from the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, on June 21, with an overwhelming 424 votes in favor and only one opposing. Following its approval by the Federal Council, the upper chamber of parliament, and President Vladimir Putin’s signature, the bill will be enacted into law.

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This legislation was introduced as a response to what Russia views as Japan’s “unfriendly” actions, including sanctions imposed on Moscow following the annexation of Crimea and its involvement in eastern Ukraine. Russia accused Japan of distorting historical accounts and evading responsibility for war crimes.

The bill serves as both a memorial to those who fought against fascism and a cautionary measure against those attempting to rewrite history. 

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Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, affirmed Russia’s willingness to establish positive relations with Japan, emphasizing the importance of mutual respect and understanding of each other’s interests.

The recent dispute between Japan and Russia further strains their already delicate relationship, marred by historical disagreements, security challenges, and geopolitical rivalry. Despite ongoing discussions to resolve their territorial dispute and sign a peace treaty, progress has been minimal.

This disagreement also impacts their cooperation on regional and international issues, such as North Korea’s nuclear program, China’s growing influence, climate change, and economic and energy collaboration. Although both nations express a desire to deepen their relationship, significant divisions continue to hinder their efforts.

Russia’s declaration of September 3 as a day of victory against Japan may further complicate their efforts to find common ground and build trust. Additionally, it has the potential to ignite popular unrest and nationalist sentiments on both sides, making it increasingly challenging for leaders to reach agreements or compromises.

Also Read: US Officials View Diminished Putin as Russia’s Unrest Reveals Cracks


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