ASIA: Islands and Peace

One of the last remaining obstacles to a peace treaty between Japan and the Soviet Union formally ending World War II is the fate of four small islands north of Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost province, that have been occupied by the Russians since 1945. Shortly after Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko visited Tokyo last January, Soviet officials hinted that they might agree to a "lease" arrangement that would implicitly recognize the Japanese claim over the islands—recognition that Tokyo has made a precondition to any treaty. But before starting talks on the treaty as the Russians wished, Japan's new Premier Kakuei...

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