MOSCOW, May 22. /TASS/. The issue of the South Kuril Islands should not be an irritant in the Russian-Japanese relations, State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin told Rossiya 24 TV channel on Thursday.
The issue of the Kuril Islands "is always present on the agenda of meetings" with Tokyo, Naryshkin said after his visit to Japan. "If the Kurils are considered as pretext for territorial claims to Russia, then the issue will only become an irritant and obstacle to developing cooperation in other spheres," the speaker noted.
"We are ready to discuss any topics, even as delicate as a peace treaty with Japan, but it should be done with respect," he stressed.
The Kuril Islands, which used to be Japan’s territory before World War II but became part of Russia as a result of the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation at the end of WWII, have been a source of dispute between Russia and Japan all through the post-war period.
On May 20, Vice-President of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party told Naryshkin at a meeting that Japan’s government hopes to solve the problem of the South Kurils with Russia during Putin’s visit to the country. "We want to make a peace treaty and solve the territorial dispute. And we want President Putin to visit Japan. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is seriously thinking about it," Komura said.
On May 18, Japan’s Foreign Ministry told TASS that Tokyo plans to continue preparations for Putin’s visit to the country.
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.