Japan criticizes Russia over its fishing pact

TOKYO -- Japan criticised Russia's decision to suspend an agreement that allowed Japanese fishermen to fish near disputed islands.

Japan criticizes Russia over its fishing pact

TOKYO -- Japan criticised Russia's decision to suspend an agreement that allowed Japanese fishermen to fish near disputed islands. This was in response to the deterioration in relations between the two countries over the conflict in Ukraine.

Since 1998, the fishing agreement has allowed Japanese fishing boats to operate in the Russian-held Kurils. Japan claims the Northern Territories and also claims the Kurils. Japan receives a payment based on catch limits and other conditions each year.

The suspension was apparently due to Japan's sanctions on Moscow for its invasion in Ukraine. This raises concerns about the safety of Japanese fishing vessels in the region. Before the agreement, Russian authorities had taken and shot at Japanese fishing boats.

Hirokazu Matsuno, Chief Cabinet Secretary, stated that it was regrettable that Russia unilaterally announced the suspension of cooperation. He also criticised Moscow for failing to fund unrelated projects on Sakhalin (the largest Russian island in Pacific).

Matsuno stated that Tokyo will continue negotiations to ensure safe operation of Japanese boats in accordance with the pact.

He stated that he would do his best to ensure the safety of the Japanese fishery operation.

This area is rich in pollack, Okhotsk mackerrel, and octopus.

Due to their territorial dispute, the two countries were unable to sign a peace treaty that would officially end World War II. Russia has already abandoned peace negotiations with Japan as a result of the sanctions.

Matsuno criticised Moscow for linking Japan’s inability to finance Sakhalin development projects to the fishing agreement, even though it is not part Tokyo's territory.

As part of its efforts to strengthen ties with Russia, Japan has provided Sakhalin development funds for many years. Matsuno acknowledged that Tokyo hadn't paid its most recent payment for Sakhalin projects. However, it was not immediately clear if this was connected to the sanctions.

Japan joined Europe and the United States in imposition of sanctions against Russia and supporting Ukraine. It is concerned that China may be encouraged to assert itself in the region by the current crisis.

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