DISINFO: Japan is a vassal state of the US and follows Washington’s policy instructions
Sovereignty WWII Territorial dispute USSR Puppets

DISINFO: Japan is a vassal state of the US and follows Washington’s policy instructions


President Putin recently made a special offer to Japan regarding the joint development of the Kuril Islands. But Japan is a vassal state of the US and follows Washington’s instructions, so it is improbable that Japanese politicians will act in the interests of their country and their people and accept President Putin’s offer.


Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative that seeks to portray Japan as a vassal. This message is consistent with the broader pro-Kremlin narrative claiming that US allies and partners are nations that have lost their sovereignty and have become US client states.

The article also contains a recurrent disinformation message about what Russia refers to as the "South Kuril Islands", and is also consistent with a broad propaganda narrative claiming that Moscow pursues a constructive foreign policy and always seeks to resolve conflicts, and to enhance peace, stability and international cooperation, while US and Western foreign policies are not constructive and seek confrontation.

It is not true that Japan is a “vassal of the US” that obeys US foreign policy instructions. The US-Japan security alliance is a key aspect of Japanese foreign policy, but Japan is a sovereign state and pursues an independent foreign policy, and Tokyo is often willing to disagree with US policy, especially towards East Asia. US military presence in Japan is regulated by the 1954 Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement.

Moreover, the article provides no evidence to support its claim that Putin’s offer to Japan regarding the joint development of the Kuril Islands is in the “interests of Japan and of its people”.

An implicit message of the article is that Putin’s offer could resolve the long-standing Russo-Japanese dispute. However, Russia has so far never considered Japan's request to regain possession of the islands invaded by the Soviet Union, an invasion that displaced thousands of Japanese.

The Kuril Islands were occupied by the Soviet Union following Japan's surrender in World War II. Previously, these islands were not Russian territory. In 1855 Russia and Japan had signed the Treaty of Shimoda, which divided the territory of the archipelago, assigning Japan's territorial rule to the four southern islands, while Russia got the northern territories.

As you can read in EU vs Disinfo database, Russia often uses the Kuril Islands issue to underline Japan's weakness and assert Moscow’s foreign policy in the Far East. These islands are rich in natural resources and supposedly also in rare earths. They are also an important gateway to the Pacific Ocean.

In 2005, the European Parliament issued an official statement urging the return of the territories in dispute to Japan. You can read more about the Kuril Islands issue here or here.

Read similar cases claiming that Japan is not fully sovereign, that Germany and Japan are occupied by the US, and that informed Japanese believe that the Kuril Islands are an integral part of Russia .


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Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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