Press release №2137
28.01.2019
KURIL ISLANDS: NO RETURN

IN BRIEF

  • 79% of Russians are aware that Japan wants the return of the southern Kurils
  • Most of Russians oppose the transfer of the islands to Japan
  • 51% of respondents consider that it is important to pursue negotiations with Japan.

Russians consider the Kuril Islands dispute settled and oppose their transfer to Japan.

MOSCOW, January 28, 2019. Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) presents the data of a study devoted to the attitudes of Russians towards the return of the Kuril Islands to Japan.

Most of Russians (79%) are aware that Japan wants the return of four southern Kuril Islands.

Three-quarters (77%) of respondents oppose the transfer of the islands to Japan. They say that the issue is solved and the islands belong to Russia (29%). Every tenth (10%) states that Russia won back these islands. Fourteen percent of respondents say that the southern Kuril Islands should be transferred to Japan in order to sign a peace treaty between the two countries (7%).

More and more Russians think that Russia should negotiate with Japan on the Kuril Islands for as long as needed to come to a mutual decision (an increase from 35% in 2009 to 51% in 2018). A minority supports hasty signing of peace treaty which would possibly harm Russia’s interest as well as termination of cooperation with Japan on this issue (13%, for each).

VCIOM-Sputnik survey was conducted on November 26, 2018. The survey involved 1,600 Russians aged 18 and over. The survey was telephone-based and was carried out using stratified dual-frame random sample based on a complete list of landline and mobile phone numbers operating in Russia. The data were weighted according to selection probability and social and demographic characteristics. The margin of error at a 95% confidence level does not exceed 2.5%. In addition to sampling error, minor changes in question wording and different circumstances arising during the fieldwork can introduce bias into the survey.

The 2009 results are based on household surveys.

Are you aware that Japan seeks to return four southern Kuril Islands from Russia?   (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  Total respondents
Yes, I am aware 79
No, I am not aware 20
Don’t know 1

 

In your opinion, should Russia transfer the southern Kurils to Japan aiming to sign a peace treaty and develop bilateral cooperation? (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  Total respondents
Definitely yes 4
Likely yes 10
Likely no 31
Definitely no 46
Don’t know 9

 

In your opinion, why is it important to transfer the southern Kurils to Japan? (open-ended question, up to three answers, % of those who consider that Russia should transfer the southern Kurils to Japan; shown are answers of at least 1% of respondents)
  % of those who consider that Russia should transfer the southern Kurils to Japan
Relations with Japan are important; peace treaty is necessary/opportunity to build mutually beneficial relations 7
Being part of Japan these islands will be developing/Islanders wild live better 2
These islands initially belonged to Japan 1
Opportunity to establish economic cooperation/exchange of technologies/Russian economy will improve 1
We do not need these islands: there is no benefit/we do not use them 1
We have a large territory; Japan does not have too much land and is overpopulated 1
We can sell the islands and gain benefit 1
Other 1
Don’t know 2

 

In your opinion, why should Russia not transfer the Southern Kurils to Japan? (open-ended question, up to three answers, % of those who consider that Russia should not transfer the Southern Kurils to Japan; shown are answers of at least 1% of respondents)
  % of those who consider that Russia should NOT transfer the southern Kurils to Japan
The dispute is solved; the islands belong to Russia 29
We won these islands back 10
Russia should not lose its territory 7
This may launch an irreversible process of boundaries revision 7
Those islands is strategically important 5
There is a risk that the U.S.A could establish NATO bases there   5
It is a rich area 4
Russians live there 2
Distrust towards Japan 2
We need to keep on negotiating/possible transfer of islands under a lease agreement  2
There is no peace treaty and there will not be any peace treaty 2
The area is too big 0
Partial transfer is possible   0
Other 1
Don’t know 16

  

In your opinion, what policy should Russia pursue in negotiations on the Kuril Islands?  (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  2009 2018
Keeping on negotiating with Japan even if it takes time; the most important thing is to come to a mutual agreement 34 51
Ending the negotiation as soon as possible to get the dispute resolved even if the final decision is contradictory 14 13
Stopping negotiation with Japan, ignoring Japanese requirements and proposals 25 13
Postponing the negotiation for  15 to 20 year leaving it for future generations 10 15
Don’t know 17 8

  

Note: Using materials from the site www.wciom.ru or wciom.com, as well as distributed by VCIOM, the reference to the source (or hyperlink for the electronic media) is obligatory!
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