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MOSCOW, October 8. /TASS/. Representatives of Russia and Japan focused on historical aspects of the peace treaty issue during their second round of talks on the problem, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday following today’s meeting in Moscow between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov and Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama.
"The discussion was focused on historical aspects of the problem," the ministry said in a statement. "Talks are held in line with an instruction of the Russian and Japanese leaders and will be continued."
The problem of the southern Kuril Islands is the key obstacle to a complete normalization of the Russian-Japanese ties and the signing of a peace treaty. After the Second World War, all Kuril Islands were made part of the Soviet Union. But Japan does not agree that the islands of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and the Habomai island group belong to Russia. Tokyo calls the islands "Northern Territories".