Russia plans to rename islands in Japan dispute

Featured - August 6th, 2012

A Russian political party plans to push for renaming islands disputed with Japan in the hope of gathering support ahead of elections in October, Asahi Shimbun reports.

The center-left For Justice party plans to conduct a survey for residents on renaming effectively Russian-controlled islands in the Northern Territories, which officially belong to Japan, and the Southern Kurils. The results of the survey could support the drafting of a bill to legally change the names of the islands from Japanese. Suggestions include replacing Kunashiri with “Cossack Island”, Etorofu with “Salmon Islan”, Shikotan with “Beautiful Island” and the Habomai with “Russkie (Russian) Islands”.

Local residents shrugged at the idea saying that changing the names of the islands will not affect them. Director of Kuril-Japan friendship center said: “I don’t think the current names harm our patriotism. I hope (party officials) will come visit to see our lives, rather than calling for a need to change names”. Russia continues to develop the territory amid its dispute with Japan.