Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Tuesday he hoped to visit Russia early next year to speed up talks to resolve the territorial dispute and conclude a peace treaty, the Kyodo news agency reported on Tuesday.
“I would like to use a convenient moment to improve bilateral ties,” Mr Abe said during his speech in Tokyo, reports TASS.
Speaking on the despited islands, called the Northern Territories in Japan and the South Kuriles in Russia, the Japanese premier said “there can be no final solution to the problem without fallowing a new approach”, adding that the development of economic relations is a short way to solve the peace treaty dispute.
Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin met for two days of talks in Japan last week and concluded numerous economic deals but failed to achieve any progress on the territorial dispute. However, according to Abe, Putin’s visit “gave a new impetus and prompted a new rise in the Russian-Japanese relations.”
Since mid-20th century, Russia and Japan have been negotiating a peace treaty after World War Two. The main stumbling point to this is the issue of the dispute over the islands, which were sized by Soviet forces at the end of World War Two. Russia’s Foreign Ministry has stated many times that Russia’s sovereignty over the islands is beyond doubt.
In 1956, the Soviet Union and Japan signed a joint declaration on ceasing the state of war. The two countries resumed diplomatic and other relations, however no peace treaty has been signed until now. The Soviet Union committed to paper in the declaration its readiness to hand over Shikotan and Habomai to Japan as a gesture of good will after the peace treaty is ultimately signed. Japan’s position is that the peace treaty should be signed after solving the issue of the ownership of all four islands.
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