MOSCOW, December 5. /TASS/. Meetings of the Russian-Japanese peace treaty mechanism are under considerations, details will be announced in the near future, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing on Wednesday.
"I think in the near future we will have some data in order to comment on the issue, which is currently under consideration," she said when asked when the mechanism’s meetings would take place and who would participate in them.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said following talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina that the parties had agreed on a new mechanism to resolve the peace treaty issue. The Japanese Foreign Ministry’s press service told TASS on Monday that Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov and his Japanese counterpart Takeo Mori had become the two leaders’ envoys to carry out negotiations. The two countries’ foreign ministers will oversee the negotiation process.
Since the mid-20th century, Russia and Japan have been holding consultations in order to clinch a peace treaty as a follow-up to World War II. The Kuril Islands issue remains the sticking point since after WWII the islands were handed over to the Soviet Union while Japan laid claims to the four southern islands. In 1956, the two countries signed a common declaration on ending the state of war and restoring diplomatic and all other relations, however, a peace treaty has still not been reached. The Joint Declaration said that the Soviet government was ready to hand Shikotan Island and a group of small islands over to Japan, adding that Tokyo would get actual control of the islands after a peace treaty was signed.
However, after Japan and the United States had signed the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security in 1960, the Soviet Union withdrew its obligation to hand over the islands. A Soviet government’s memorandum dated January 27, 1960, said that those islands would only be handed over to Japan if all foreign troops were pulled out of the country.
On November 14, Putin and Abe agreed at their Singapore meeting that the two countries would speed up peace treaty talks based on the 1956 Joint Declaration.