MOSCOW, May 26. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has noted the significance of seeking solutions to the issue of a peace treaty between Russia and Japan, since it should meet the interests of both counties and be supported by their peoples, he said after talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday.
"We believe it important to keep looking patiently for solutions [to the peace treaty] which should meet strategic interests of both Russia and Japan and would be accepted by the two countries’ peoples," Putin said.
The talks focused on implementation of agreements on joint economic activity in the southern Kurile islands.
"We are satisfied with the state of affairs in the five sectors approved earlier, namely aquaculture, greenhouse business, package tours, wind energy and waste recycling," Putin said.
Russia and Japan have been in talks to sign a peace treaty since the mid-20th century. The main stumbling block to achieving this is the ownership issue over the Southern Kuril Islands. After the end of World War II, the Kuril Islands were incorporated into the Soviet Union. However, the ownership of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan Islands and the Habomai Islands is being challenged by Japan. 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, but no peace treaty has been signed so far.