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TOKYO, May 5 (Itar-Tass) — Japan is studying a possibility to resolve the territorial dispute with Russia on the basis of the 1956 Declaration, which envisions the return of four South Kurile Islands to Japan, Kyodo Tsushin reported on Saturday.
In the 1956 Declaration Moscow expressed readiness to hand over the island of Shikotan and the Habomai Islands to Tokyo after the signing of a peace treaty between the two countries. In 2001 the then Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori confirmed the importance of the Declaration. But progress was not reached between the two countries.
The succeeding Japanese governments, including the current cabinet of ministers led by Yosihiko Noda, reiterated that they did not consider such dispute resolution acceptable. Meanwhile, according to Kyodo Tsushin, recently the Noda government has agreed with a possibility to implement the 1956 Declaration due to Putin’s election as president of Russia. Meeting journalists in March, Putin said it was necessary to search for “an acceptable compromise” to resolve the territorial dispute with Japan. Tokyo hopes to achieve progress at the upcoming talks on this issue, which has been a cornerstone in relations between Russia and Japan.
According to Kyodo Tsushin, Noda intends to send the former prime minister to Russia in the middle of March in order to meet the Russian leadership. This meeting should be one of the preparatory steps for possible talks between the Japanese prime minister and the Russian president on the sidelines of the G-8 summit due to take place in Camp David, the United States, on May 18-19.