Japanese NGO`s hidden activities

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Jun 19, 2019
According to the latest events, Tokyo abandoned the wording "illegal occupation" of the Kuril Islands. But this does not at all indicate the readiness of the Japanese leadership to abandon claims to the so-called "northern territories". The controversial issue is solving by the impact of non-governmental organizations on the local population. The "Solidarity League for the Return of the Northern Territories" is one of the most popular organizations in this regard. Despite the fact that this organization appeared in the 1960s, it still functions successfully and forms public opinion on the return of the "northern territories". Currently, this organization has at least 15 regional offices.

The organization is working on the manufacture and distribution of booklets on the problem of the "northern territories", which are distributed not only among the Japanese population, but also among Russian youth. Large-scale events are held in the cities of Japan, where locals are introduced to convenient "historical pseudo-realities". In this regard, the Day of the Northern Territories is celebrated in a special way.

By itself, the term of the "northern territories" is controversial, relating more to politics than to geography, although, it is documented in the legislation. Thus, according to Japanese law, state bodies are obliged to "make maximum efforts in order to return the islands as soon as possible and create favorable conditions for the movement for the return of the "northern territories". The term is purely Japanese and has no clear boundaries. In a broad sense, the Japanese include in the "northern territories" not only the southern part of the Kuril Islands, but all the other Islands of the Kuril Ridge and even the southern part of Sakhalin Island. Some representatives of the ultra-right circles refer to the "northern territories" the Russian Primorye, Priamurye, North Sakhalin and Kamchatka.

Thanks to the "League of Solidarity for the Return of the Northern Territories", the Day of the Northern Territories is celebrated on a grand scale. They spend it for two months, organizing photo exhibitions, collecting signatures for the return of the islands, handing out booklets and new pseudo-geographic maps and showing movies.

It all works. The fact that NGOs have achieved success in terms of promoting the return of "unjustly lost lands" is said by statistics. So, back in the mid-60s, the Japanese were not particularly interested in the issue of the Kuril Islands. In those years, only 40% of the interviewed residents of Hokkaido were able to accurately determine the "Northern Territories", more than half did not know how and why Japan argues its position; and only 10% said that the "Northern Territories" are of serious interest among other international issues directly or indirectly related to Japan. For comparison, every Japanese schoolboy today considers this a matter of his life. Literally on every corner, thanks to the efforts of Japanese NGOs in the cities of the Land of the Rising Sun, banners were hung up with the statements: "Preserving the memory of the Northern Territories is the first step to return the four lost islands".

Thus, despite the apparent stabilization in the matter of the so-called "disputed territories", this problem remains one of the most discussed today. The propaganda activities of the "League of Solidarity for the Return of the Territories of Japan" to impose on the regional community the idea of the illegality of the occupation of the Kuril Islands by the Soviet Union continues. How does the sponsorship of such NGOs continue? While these Japanese organizations will have the support of the state and the United States, the problem of the "northern territories" will be aggravated.