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Are Japan and Russia technically still at war?


Japan and Russia have a long-standing history of tension and conflict. The two nations fought a brutal war in the early 20th century, and their relationship has been strained ever since. Despite numerous attempts at reconciliation, there are still questions about whether or not the two countries are technically still at war. In this article, we will explore the history of Japan and Russia’s conflict, examine the current state of their relationship, and ultimately determine whether or not they are still technically at war.

The Russo-Japanese War

The Russo-Japanese War was fought between 1904 and 1905, with Japan emerging victorious. The war was sparked by tensions over control of Korea and Manchuria, and it marked the first time an Asian power had defeated a European power in a modern conflict. While the war officially ended with the Treaty of Portsmouth in 1905, there were still unresolved issues between Japan and Russia that would continue to cause tension for decades to come.

Japanese Snack Box

The Soviet Union Era

During the Soviet Union era, Japan and Russia were officially at peace. However, there were still numerous issues that caused tension between the two nations. For example, Japan was concerned about the Soviet Union’s expansion into Asia, while the Soviet Union was worried about Japan’s alliance with the United States. Additionally, there were disputes over islands in the Kuril chain that both countries claimed as their own.

The Post-Soviet Era

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Japan and Russia began to explore ways to improve their relationship. There were talks of signing a peace treaty to formally end the war between them, but progress was slow due to ongoing disputes over the Kuril Islands. While there have been some efforts made to improve relations in recent years, tensions between the two nations remain high.

The Kuril Islands Dispute

The Kuril Islands are a chain of islands that stretch from Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula to Japan’s Hokkaido island. Russia has controlled the islands since the end of World War II, but Japan claims sovereignty over the four southernmost islands. The dispute over the islands has prevented Japan and Russia from signing a peace treaty, and it remains a major point of contention between the two nations.

Recent Developments

In recent years, there have been some efforts made to improve relations between Japan and Russia. In 2016, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Russia for talks with President Vladimir Putin, and the two leaders agreed to work towards resolving the Kuril Islands dispute. However, progress has been slow, and there are still significant obstacles to overcome.

The Role of the United States

The United States has played a significant role in Japan and Russia’s relationship. During the Cold War, the US supported Japan as a key ally in Asia, while also engaging in a nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union. Today, the US continues to maintain a strong military presence in Japan, which is seen by some in Russia as a threat to their security.

The Importance of Energy

Energy is another key factor in Japan and Russia’s relationship. Japan is heavily dependent on imported energy, while Russia is one of the world’s largest producers of oil and gas. In recent years, there have been talks of building a pipeline connecting Russia’s Far East with Japan, which could provide a reliable source of energy for Japan while also boosting economic ties between the two nations.

International Implications

The ongoing tension between Japan and Russia has implications beyond just their relationship. As two major powers in Asia, their conflict could impact regional stability and security. Additionally, their dispute over the Kuril Islands is closely watched by other countries with territorial disputes, such as China and South Korea.


So, are Japan and Russia technically still at war? The answer is complicated. While the Russo-Japanese War officially ended with the Treaty of Portsmouth in 1905, there are still unresolved issues between the two nations that have prevented them from signing a peace treaty. The dispute over the Kuril Islands remains a major point of contention, and progress towards resolving it has been slow. While there have been some efforts made to improve relations in recent years, tensions between Japan and Russia remain high.


In order to improve their relationship, Japan and Russia will need to make significant efforts to address the underlying issues that have caused tension between them. This may require compromise on both sides, particularly when it comes to the Kuril Islands dispute. Additionally, other countries in the region can play a role in encouraging dialogue and cooperation between Japan and Russia, which could help to promote stability and security in Asia. Ultimately, it will be up to Japan and Russia to determine the future of their relationship, but with the right approach, there is hope for a more peaceful and cooperative future.

Why is Japan and Russia fighting?

The Russo-Japanese War was caused by Russia’s desire for a Pacific Ocean port with access to warm water for trade and naval purposes, and Japan’s ambition to expand its empire into Korea and China.

How close are Japan and Russia?

The maritime border between Japan and Russia is considered the official boundary that divides the territorial waters of both countries. The Russian border agency states that the length of this border is 194.3 km (120.7 mi).

What countries are still at war from ww2?

Japan and China have not been able to reconcile after their participation in World War II. There are still unresolved issues between the former combatants, such as the Kuril Islands Dispute between Japan and Russia. This conflict has continued to simmer since the war ended.

Does Japan rely on Russia?

Due to its limited resources, Japan relies on Russia to meet its natural gas requirements. This is why Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has been hesitant to sever ties with Moscow entirely. (Note: The original text is already quite concise and doesn’t require much paraphrasing.)

What is Japan’s reaction to Ukraine?

Japan strongly condemns the severe violation of international humanitarian law and commission of war crimes in Ukraine, deeming it completely unacceptable. This stance reflects Japan’s strong opposition to these actions. This statement was made on February 24, 2023.

Who won Japan vs Russia war?

Japan emerged as the victor in the Russo-Japanese war, achieving a significant triumph over Russia and making history as the first Asian nation to defeat a European power in modern times. This occurred on January 23, 2023.

One potential area where Japan and Russia could cooperate is in the field of Arctic development. As melting ice opens up new shipping lanes and access to natural resources, both countries could benefit from joint exploration and exploitation of these resources. However, this would require a significant shift in their current relationship, which is still marked by mistrust and suspicion.

Another potential obstacle to improving relations between Japan and Russia is the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Japan has expressed support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity, while Russia has been accused of supporting separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. This puts Japan in a difficult position, as it seeks to balance its relationship with Russia against its commitments to its allies and international norms.

Despite these challenges, there are reasons for optimism about the future of Japan and Russia’s relationship. Both countries have expressed a desire to improve ties, and there have been some positive developments in recent years. However, it will take sustained effort and cooperation on both sides to overcome the deep-seated issues that have caused tension between them for decades. With the right approach, there is hope for a more peaceful and prosperous future for Japan, Russia, and the wider Asia-Pacific region.

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