Tokyo: Japan will continue negotiating territorial issues and a peace treaty with Russia, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said on Monday.
On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin told foreign journalists at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) that the country’s amendments to the constitution did not mean that the dialogue with Tokyo on a peace treaty should stop and confirmed Moscow’s willingness to pursue this course.
“We will continue to persistently negotiate on the basic premise of solving the issue of the northern territories [refers to the islands of Kunashir, Shikotan, Iturup and Habomai] and concluding the peace treaty,” Kato was quoted as saying by the Kyodo news agency.
For many years, the relationship between Moscow and Tokyo has been soured by the absence of a post-WWII peace treaty. The main obstacle is the territorial belonging of the Southern Kuril islands.
Japan claims these islands, citing the 1855 bilateral Treaty on Trade and Borders. Moscow’s position is that the islands became a part of the USSR after the war and Russia’s sovereignty over them is beyond question.
In 1956, the Soviet Union and Japan signed a joint declaration in which Moscow agreed to consider the possibility of transferring Habomai and Shikotan islands should a peace treaty be signed. However, the negotiations failed.
Moscow has repeatedly stressed that Japan must recognize the WWII results, including Russia’s sovereignty over the Southern Kuril islands.