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Iran Press TV

Russia: US military presence hinders our Japan ties

Iran Press TV

Saturday, 23 November 2019 5:20 PM

Russia calls the United States' extensive and growing military presence in Japan an obstacle in the way of further development of the Russo-Japanese relations.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was remarking on the sidelines of a Group of 20 ministerial meeting in the southern Japanese city of Nagoya on Saturday, AFP reported.

These troops were "of course a problem on the road to improving the quality" of the ties, he said. Moscow's concerns "over its own security stemming from the presence, development, and constant reinforcement of the US-Japan political and military alliance" had been conveyed to the Japanese side, Lavrov added.

He reminded how the concern about the US boots, whose number today stands at around 54,000, dates back to the time when the Soviet Union and Japan where discussing a potential end to their World War II hostilities.

"Let me remind you when the 1956 declaration was being negotiated, the USSR said that it could only be fully implemented if there was an end to US presence in Japan," said Lavrov.

The declaration restored bilateral ties between Russia and Japan, which had been severed due to the USSR's capture of a Japanese archipelago lying between the Sea of Okhotsk and the Pacific Ocean.

However, talks stalled after Tokyo and Washington signed a cooperation accord, precluding conclusion of a peace treaty with Moscow.

Last November, though, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed during a meeting in Singapore to accelerate talks towards formally ending their wartime hostilities.

The Russian top diplomat said Tokyo had "promised to react" to Moscow's concerns regarding the American military presence.

The US's military involvement in Japan has perennially proven a source of domestic and local resentment arising from the crimes committed by American forces on the Japanese soil.

Most of the outrage was incurred in 1995 over the rape of a 12-year-old girl on the Okinawa island, which hosts half of the 54,000-strong American force.

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