Russia to Ban Non-Registered Vessels from Waters Around Northern Territories From April 11 to 17

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Foreign Ministry head office is seen in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on Nov. 1, 2020.

Russia has said that vessels registered outside of the country will be banned from entering waters around the Northern Territories from April 11 to 17, prompting a protest from Japan.

It is not clear why Russia has taken the measure, but it is possible that the decision is linked to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s recent visit to the United States.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry protested to the Russian Embassy in Japan on Friday, saying “the Northern Territories are Japan’s inherent territory and that the measure was unacceptable.”

The U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea recognizes the “right of innocent passage” through the territorial waters of other countries as long as it does not threaten the security of the coastal state. The Convention also allows a coastal state to suspend the “right of innocent passage” if it is in its own territorial waters.