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TOKYO, February 15. /TASS/. Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida hopes to discuss the Kuril Islands territorial dispute with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov during the latter’s visit to Tokyo.
"I want to discuss the whole range of Russian-Japanese relations, including the problem of ‘northern territories’ [Kuril Islands]," Kishida told a press conference on Monday.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the Russian Federation Harada Tikahito held consultations in Tokyo earlier today. The Russian Foreign Ministry said that an agreement was reached on Lavrov’s official visit to Tokyo in mid-April.
"A whole range of Russian-Japanese relations was discussed at consultations. Emphasis was made on tasks of promoting political dialogue, cooperation in security sphere, trade and economic ties and cooperation in practical spheres," the foreign ministry added. "The sides also exchanged opinions on several pressing international issues, including on matters of ensuring comprehensive security in the Asia-Pacific," the ministry added.
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.