Russia has lambasted what it called “baffling” comments by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on Tuesday, in which he compared Russia’s actions in Ukraine to the Soviet annexation of Japanese territory at the end of World War II.
In a strongly worded statement, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused Kishida of forgetting the role Japan played in the run-up to the war and of not wanting to learn from the historical record.
“He is trying to overturn history from top to toe,” it said, accusing Kishida of seeking to revise the “widely recognized understanding” of the reasons for World War II and its results.
In a speech on Tuesday in Brussels, Kishida referred to Moscow’s annexation of the Northern Territories, saying what has happened in Ukraine is directly comparable: a change of the status quo by force. Russia still administers the disputed isles, which it knows as the Southern Kurils.
The lengthy rebuttal by the Russian foreign ministry assailed Japan for its actions in the early part of the 20th century.
“We (recall) that it was a militaristic Japan which together with Nazi Germany tried to force their supremacy on the world, smashed by force the pre-war status quo and occupied a whole range of states,” it said.