Russia Marks Day of World War II Victory over Japan
14:47 JST, September 3, 2023
TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Russia held events in its Far Eastern region Sunday to mark the 78th anniversary of the 1945 victory of the former Soviet Union over Japan in World War II.
Participants paraded and laid flowers in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, the capital of Sakhalin. Among the participants was former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, currently deputy chairman of his country’s security council.
The events were the first since Russia declared Sept. 3 as the Day of Victory over Militaristic Japan and the end of World War II earlier this year, renaming its World War II victory day.
The group of lawmakers who proposed the name change have said it is a countermeasure against Japan, an unfriendly nation that has imposed sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
Ahead of the Sept. 3 anniversary, the Sakhalin government justified what Tokyo calls the “illegal occupation” of the northern territories.
It was in Sakhalin and on the Kuril Islands where the battles that decided the end of the war occurred, claiming the lives of more than 2,000 Soviet soldiers, the Sakhalin government said.
The Kuril Islands, called the Chishima Islands in Japan, include the disputed islands, which were seized from Japan in the closing days of the war. Tokyo calls the four islands the northern territories.
Senior Russian central government officials have visited the northern territories in recent years. In 2021, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin visited Etorofu, followed by an inspection of the same island by Deputy Prime Minister Yury Trutnev, also presidential envoy to the Far Eastern region, in July this year.
Meanwhile, Russia has suspended visa-free exchanges with Japan since it began invading Ukraine in February 2022. The peace treaty negotiations between Tokyo and Moscow also remain halted.
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