MOSCOW, May 17. /TASS/. Military cooperation between Russia and Japan, including forthcoming consultations in the 2+2 format were in focus of talks between Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin and Japanese Ambassador to Russian Toyohisa Kozuki, the Russian defense ministry said on Friday.
"The sides discussed issues of bilateral military cooperation, including upcoming consultations in the 2+2 format involving defense and foreign ministers of the two countries," the ministry said.
After the Moscow talks with his visiting Japanese counterpart, Taro Kono, on May 10 Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that a meeting between the two countries foreign and defense ministers in the 2+2 format would be held in Tokyo on May 30. The revious such meeting took place in Moscow on July 31, 2018.
Since the mid-20th century, Russia and Japan have been negotiating a peace treaty after World War II. The main stumbling block to this is the issue of the ownership of the southern Kuril Islands. After the end of World War II, all Kuril Islands were incorporated into the Soviet Union. However, Japan challenged the ownership of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan islands and a number of uninhibited islands of the Lesser Kuril Ridge called the Habomai Islands in Japan.
At a meeting in Singapore in November 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to invigorate the peace treaty talks on the basis on the 1956 declaration on ceasing the state of war.