OREANDA-NEWSJapan believes that its sovereignty extends to the islands belonging to the southern part of the Kuril Islands, and Tokyo's position on this subject doesn't change. This was announced on Tuesday by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a parliamentary debate with leaders of opposition parties.

"Japan’s sovereignty extends to the four northern islands (as the Russian southern Kuril Islands are called in Japan). Our position is unchanged in this. Statements about any departure from our basic position on this score are untrue", he said.

At the same time, Abe emphasized that progress has recently been made in the negotiations between Japan and Russia. As an example, the head of government cited the organization of annual charter flights to the southern part of the Kuril Islands for former residents of the islands with the aim of visiting the graves of their ancestors, as well as an agreement to launch pilot projects in these territories as part of joint economic activities.

Recall that the talk about the allegedly upcoming transfer of the Kuril Islands hasn't ceased in the press and the expert community for several months.