U.S. recognizes Russians born in Kuril Islands as Japanese
The United States said that, for its Diversity Visa Program, residents of the South Kuril Islands will be considered to be natives of Japan.
In the instructions for the Diversity Visa Program published by the U.S. Department of State, it is noted that “persons born in the Habomai Islands, Shikotan, Kunashiri, and Etorofu are chargeable to Japan”.
At the same time, the program states that “persons born in Southern Sakhalin are chargeable to Russia”.
In turn, the Russian Foreign Ministry accused the U.S. of disputing the results of World War II, according to which the islands were part of the Soviet Union.
Russia called the United States a “revisionist power” and urged the U.S. to be aware of it own borders and also the “red lines.”
Russia and Japan have not yet concluded a peace treaty to resolve territorial dispute over the Kuril after World War II. Japan claims the southern part of the Kuril archipelago (Iturup Islands, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai Ridge), which came under Soviet control in 1945, and rejects proposals to conclude a peace treaty without preconditions. Russia insists on its sovereignty over these territories.
In November 2018, after a meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin, it became known that Japan is ready to come back to the Soviet–Japanese Joint Declaration of 1956. In it, the USSR agreed to hand over to Japan two islands – Habomai and Shikotan – after the signing of the peace treaty.
In January 2019, another round of talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took place in Moscow. After the talks, the Kremlin said it “has not yet observed any changes in Japan’s position.”