RENGO held the 2006 Peace Action in Nemuro from 23 to 24 September. The Action included a study meeting on the Northern Islands on 23 September and the 2006 Nossappu Peace Rally on the following day. All participants promised to work on the restoration of the Northern Territory until all of the four Islands are restored. The Nemuro action concluded the series of RENGO’s peace actions that had started with the action in Okinawa in June.
The study meeting on 23 September took place in the Northern Islands Centre located in the city of Nemuro. About 700 participants were divided into five workshops and studied the Northern Islands from various angles: 1) the Northern Island - Our Home Islands; 2) the Northern Islands Now; 3) the Preservation of Japanese Architecture; 4) Why was the Japanese Fishing Boat Shot? – Natural resources in the Northern Islands; and 5) Cooking Russian-style Dumplings.
On 24 September, 1,262 members gathered in the 2006 Nossappu Peace Rally that was held in Cape Nossappu’s Home Cape Park with a clear view of the Northern Islands. The rally paid silent tribute to the crewman of a crab-boat who was gunned down by a Russian boarder patrol.
RENGO General Secretary Koga spoke on a Japanese fishing boat and one of its crewman who was gunned down by a Russian border patrol boat: “There is no way to justify taking one’s life for any reason”. He continued: “The Northern Territory is not an issue in the past, but in the present. Measures must be taken to restore the four Islands together and preserve two historical buildings - the Etorofu Fisheries Association’s office and the Shena Post Office - that are still maintained in Etorofu Island. RENGO will work on the restoration until all the four Islands are returned”. RENGO Hokkaido President Watanabe followed: “We appeal the restoration not only for a sentimental reason, but also because the people in the territory would not live without resources from the sea. We will strengthen our efforts particularly in the exchange with Russia”.
The rally attended guests who gave speeches of solidarity, including Hokkaido vice Governor Yamamoto. The rally was closed with the adoption of an appeal and a call for solidarity led by RENGO Nemuro President Nihei.
The Northern Islands – namely Kunashiri, Etorofu, Shikotan and Habomai – are Japan’s own territory. It has been 61 years since these Islands were unjustly occupied by former Soviet, which are now occupied by Russia. We strongly demand that all the four Islands are restored at the earliest date.
Japan and Russia has not signed a peace treaty because they remain unable to fix the border due to the unsolved question of the title to the Northern Islands. Under the unchanging circumstance where the issue has not made any progress, a Russian border patrol boat shot a Japanese fishing boat on 16 August and a crewman was gunned dead.
To keep similar accidents from happening again and build a relationship of peace, friendship and mutual trust between Japan and Russia, all the four Islands that are Japan’s own territory must be restored and a Japan-Russia Peace Treaty is signed. It is of great importance that an effort be made to preserve the two historical Japanese buildings – Etorofu Fisheries Association and Shena Post Office – that remain as evidence showing that Japanese lived in the four Islands in the past.
Today we RENGO are gathering from all over the nation in Cape Nossappu, Nemuro, Hokkaido, where the movement to restore the Northern Islands was originated. The 2006 Nossappu peace rally is to conclude the 2006 Peace Action of RENGO that started with the 2006 Peace Action in Okinawa in June and continued in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August.
We promise that we take to our communities and workplaces and spread what we have been seeing in the rally and continue to work on the restoration until it is realized.
24 September 2006
2006 Nossappu Peace Rally