Japan said yesterday it wanted Russia to return all four Kuril islands, snubbing Moscow's renewed talk of returning two of them to end the dispute that has prevented the countries from formally ending World War II. \nPrime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said "Japan cannot be content" with the return of two of the four islands just off northern Japan, which were seized by Soviet troops in 1945. \n"We maintain the policy of concluding a peace treaty only after clarifying who owns the [all] four of the islands," Koizumi told reporters. \nThe government said Koizumi would raise the Kuril dispute with Russian President Vladimir Putin if they meet on the sidelines of a summit of the APEC forum in Chile this weekend. \nChief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said "Japan and Russia have a common policy" that they will conclude a peace treaty by resolving the status of all four islands. "We have not changed our stance of continuing strenuous negotiations in accordance with this policy," Hosoda, the top government spokesman, told a news conference. \nForeign Minister Nobutaka Machimura said it was not appropriate to react to each remark by Russian leaders over the dispute. \nThe renewed focus on the peace deal comes amid Japanese efforts to outbid China for a new oil pipeline from Siberia that could quench Asia's growing energy thirst. \nThe issue of the Kurils, whose Japanese residents were expelled after the Soviet takeover, has prevented the two nations from signing a post-war peace treaty and restricted Japanese investment in Russia. Putin said Monday he was ready to revive peace talks with Japan on the islands -- Habomai, Shikotan, Etorofu and Kunashiri. \n"We have always implemented and will continue to implement our [Soviet era] obligations -- especially ratified documents -- but of course only to the extent to which our partners are ready to implement these very same agreements," Putin said in televised remarks. \nHis comments referred to a 1956 declaration signed between Moscow and Tokyo in which Japan would receive two of the four islands in exchange for signing a peace treaty. \nPutin is due to visit Japan next year to commemorate the signing of the first treaty between Japan and tsarist Russia 150 years ago. \nKoizumi has demonstrated his determination for Japan to resume control of the islands, sailing near Habomai in September after ignoring Russian warnings that the trip would hamper talks on a bilateral peace treaty.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
BEYOND CULTURE: The US State Department was expected to announce that the Chinese government-funded institutes would have to register as foreign missions US President Donald Trump’s administration is increasing scrutiny of a long-established Chinese-government funded program that is dedicated to teaching Chinese language and culture in the US and other nations, the latest escalation of tensions with Beijing. The US Department of State was expected to announce as soon as yesterday that Confucius Institutes in the US — many of which are based on college campuses — would have to register as “foreign missions,” according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified. The designation would amount to a conclusion that the institutes are “substantially owned or effectively controlled” by