MILAN, December 7. /TASS/. Tokyo must acknowledge the results of the Second World War to continue negotiations on a peace treaty with Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference following a meeting of top OSCE diplomats on Friday.
"As was announced by [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin and [Japanese] Prime Minister [Shinzo] Abe in Singapore, an agreement had been reached to give additional impetus to negotiations on a peace treaty based on the Soviet-Japanese Joint Declaration of 1956. Under the Declaration, a peace treaty must be concluded before starting any talks about anything. The conclusion of a peace treaty means the recognition of the outcome of World War Two," he stated.
"We are telling our Japanese partners that this is the first step, which is absolutely indispensable, on our entire peace treaty path. We expect that this step will be made because otherwise it will be impossible to discuss anything," the top diplomat emphasized.
Following the Singapore meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the parties had agreed to step up bilateral negotiations on a peace treaty based on the 1956 Declaration. Abe in turn said that he will come to Russia in early 2019 and expressed hope that both leaders would be able to resolve the territorial dispute and sign a peace treaty.
The Soviet-Japanese Joint Declaration on ending war between the two countries and restoring diplomatic and consular relations was signed in Moscow on October 19, 1956. Article 9 of the document says that the Soviet government agreed to hand over Shikotan Island and several small uninhabited islands of the Lesser Kuril Chain (which Japan calls Habomai) to Japan provided that their actual passing under Tokyo’s control would happen after the conclusion of a peace treaty. The two states ratified the Declaration on December 8, 1956.
However, after Japan and the United States had signed the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security in 1960, the USSR withdrew its obligation to hand over the islands. A Soviet government 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.