February 7th is "Northern Territories Day".
In Nemuro City, Hokkaido, a resident convention will be held for the first time in three years with general participants.
On the other hand, in the Northern Territories under the de facto jurisdiction of Russia, there are moves to increase patriotism toward Russia, such as reports that Russian islanders are carrying out activities in support of a military invasion of Ukraine.
"Northern Territories Day" was established on February 7, 1855, after a treaty was signed between Japan and Russia to recognize the four northern islands as Japanese territory. Then, from noon on the 7th, a resident convention will be held for the first time in three years with general participants.
Regarding the Northern Territories, in March last year Russia expressed its intention to suspend peace treaty negotiations, including the issue of the Northern Territories, in response to Japan's sanctions against its military aggression against Ukraine. 's exchange business has also been cancelled.
At the resident assembly, representatives of former island residents and local high school students expressed their determination to return the Northern Territories, and in response to the relaxation of infection control measures on the roads of the new coronavirus, they called for the return. Also, all the participants are planning to speak out.
Participating as a soldier from an island in the Northern Territories, there are also cases of death
Russian media reported that cars with the letter "Z", which has become a symbol of support for military invasion on the islands of the Northern Territories, line up on the islands, and islanders support Russian soldiers on the battlefield. I'm telling you the movement that I sent supplies.
In addition, it is believed that there have been a series of cases in which islanders died as soldiers in military invasions.Among them, on Etorofu Island, a soldier from the island died last month in Bakhmut, where fierce fighting continued in Donetsk Oblast in eastern Ukraine. A funeral was reportedly held.
In addition, on Shikotan Island, a special class was held at the school to honor the soldier from the island who died in Ukraine last December as a "hero".
The Russian side appears to be aiming to increase patriotism toward Russia in the Northern Territories as well, through moves related to military aggression.
Regarding the Northern Territories, Japan imposed sanctions on Russia, which had begun a military invasion of Ukraine, in line with the West. It has taken a tough stance, such as unilaterally announcing the suspension of treaty negotiations.
Russia opposes Japan's imposition of sanctions over its military invasion of Ukraine. In September last year, he unilaterally announced that he had canceled the agreement between them.
The exchange project with the Four Northern Islands has been suspended for three years due to the spread of the new coronavirus infection, and there is no prospect of resuming it due to the unilateral announcement of the suspension by the Russian side.
Up until now, Russian islanders who have been interacting with Japanese former islanders have voiced their opposition to the sanctions imposed by Japan, while others have expressed their desire for the resumption of exchange programs.
Of these, Natalia Evtushenko, a resident of Etorofu Island who has been involved in exchanges for about 30 years since the first "visa-free exchange", commented on the current situation, saying, "The Japanese side has announced sanctions that have stepped in. Therefore, the Russian side responded immediately."
However, regarding future exchanges, he said, "We should maintain good relations with each other, and there is no need for sanctions on either side."
In addition, Olga Kiselyova, editor-in-chief of Etorofu Island's local newspaper, Akai Todai, pointed out that exchange programs have played an important role in getting to know each other, and added, "I feel lonely because I can't meet my Japanese friends." "Nashi Exchange" was a friendly and strong bond. The political situation has changed, but the people have not."