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Russian, Japanese deputy foreign ministers to discuss peace treaty problems in Moscow

October 08, 2015, 6:34 UTC+3 MOSCOW
An agreement to this effect was reached at a meeting of the two countries’ foreign ministers, Sergei Lavrov of Russia and Fumio Kishida of Japan, in Moscow on September 21
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© AP Photo/Kimimasa Mayama

MOSCOW, October 8. /TASS/. Another round of Russian-Japanese consultation on problems of the peace treaty between the two states will be held in Moscow at the level of deputy foreign ministers on Thursday.

An agreement to this effect was reached at a meeting of the two countries’ foreign ministers, Sergei Lavrov of Russia and Fumio Kishida of Japan, in Moscow on September 21.

In April 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to give a fresh impetus to the work on the peace treaty and said they had given relevant instructions to their foreign ministries. The previous round of talks between the two countries’ deputy foreign ministers took place in January 2014. Russia was represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov and Japan - by his counterpart Shinsuke Sugiyama. Since that date, another round of consultations was postponed several times, as Moscow said, by the Japanese side.

Lavrov said earlier differences in the two countries’ positions on that matter were "still big." At the same time, he stressed that both Moscow and Tokyo were determined to "look for solutions that would be acceptable and supported by the peoples of our countries." He said that "Russia’s approaches are based on all agreements reached until now and are unchanged."

"Thus, we reminded that progress on that matter can be reached only after we have clarity about Japan’s recognition of the post-war historic realities, including the United Nations Charter as it is," the Russian top diplomat said. "It is the historic aspect of this problem we have inherited from the World War II that is the most serious obstacle on the path of its settlement. Recognizing the existence of the range of problems in our relations, moving along the path of their settlement, we must not let the interests of our nations be hostages to any of these problems."

After the end of the World War II, the two countries did not establish diplomatic relations. The former Soviet Union did not sign a peace treaty with Japan, since it did not join the San Francisco peace treaty in 1951. This document committed to paper Japan’s waiver of all the rights, titles and claims on the Kuril Islands and southern Sakhalin. On October 19, 1956, Moscow and Tokyo signed a declaration stopping the state of war and resuming diplomatic and consular relations. Under the document, the sides undertook to continue peace treaty talks. Back then, the Soviet Union agreed to cede the islands of Habomai and Shikotan to Japan after the peace treaty was signed and expressed its readiness to discuss other outstanding problems. However in 1960, when Tokyo took a decision to extend the presence of U.S. troops in Japan, the Soviet Union cancelled its commitments.

Today, Russia’s position is as follows: the issue of the islands’ jurisdiction is closed. Tokyo however keeps on insisting they are to be returned to Japan, saying the San Francisco treaty has no specification as to the Kurils’ jurisdiction.

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