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TOKYO, December 7. /TASS/. Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida has spoken in favor of developing dialogue at the highest level between Russia, China and South Korea.
"Of course, there are some problems (in bilateral relations) but they cannot be solved without dialogue," Kyodo news agency quoted Kishida as saying. "If a country is taking a position on the concrete problem to not hold dialogue aimed at solving it then conditions continue when the leaders of both countries do not hold meetings," the foreign minister noted.
In an interview with the Nikkei newspaper published on December 2, Kishida said he does not rule out that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will pay a visit to Russia. He said that dialogue at the highest level between Russia and Japan is very important but the future will show how it will develop. The Japanese foreign minister also refused to make any forecasts on the date of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Tokyo saying that no concrete aims are set on this matter at the moment.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Antalya on November 16 that the Japanese prime minister plans to visit one of Russia’s regions before Putin’s official visit to Tokyo. Peskov stressed that Putin’s visit to Japan "will be further discussed." "The Japanese prime minister’s visit to one of Russia’s regions may take place before that, and it will the topic for discussion," the Kremlin spokesman noted.
Russia and Japan have no peace treaty signed after World War II. Settlement of the problem inherited by Russia’s diplomacy from the Soviet Union is hampered by the years-long dispute over the four islands of Russia’s Southern Kurils - Shikotan, Khabomai, Iturup and Kunashir, which Japan calls its northern territories.
After World War II, in September 1945, Japan signed the capitulation, and in February 1946, the Kuril Islands were declared territories of the Soviet Union.
During the Cold War, Moscow did not recognize the territorial problem, but in October 1993, when Russian president Boris Yeltsin was on an official visit in Japan, the existence of the problem was confirmed officially. However, the two countries have reached no compromise over the dispute yet.