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MOSCOW, April 29 (Itar-Tass) - President Vladimir Putin said he would give tough and straightforward answers to Japanese questions regarding ownership of the Kuril Islands, which Japan refers to as “northern territories”.
Putin made the statement in reply to a question from a Japanese journalist who read it from paper. The Russian president told him to convey his answer to “those who dictated it [the question] to you.”
The Russian leader told the journalist that “we inherited this problem from the past, from one hundred years ago” and “we sincerely want to solve it on terms that would be acceptable to both sides.”
He stressed that such a solution should be looked for in a “benevolent” and trusting atmosphere.
“If you want to interfere [with this process], you can ask tough and straightforward questions to which you will get tough and straightforward answers.”
Putin stressed that Russian citizens live on the Kuril Islands which Japan calls disputable “northern territories”. “We must think about them and their quality of life,” he said.