MOSCOW, May 26. /TASS/. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is hopeful that progress will be made in concluding a peace treaty between Japan and Russia.
"In the city of Nagato [during Putin’s visit to Japan in December 2016] we expressed our sincere resolve to settle the peace treaty issue, and since then the two countries have turned over a new leaf in their relations," Abe said at talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"Real projects on our joint economic activity are going ahead on four islands along with humanitarian measures for former residents of the islands," he said. "I expect the efforts to be pushed further on, thanks to dialogue with you."
Abe reminded that during his previous talks with Putin in Danang (where the leaders met on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Vietnam in November 2017), the Russian president had assured him that "the results achieved after the general elections will allow us to implement all our plans."
"Now I am ready that both of us will promote our cooperation calmly and energetically," the Japanese prime minister concluded.
Russia and Japan have been in talks to sign a peace treaty since the mid-20th century. The main stumbling block to achieving this is the ownership issue over the Southern Kuril Islands. After the end of World War II, the Kuril Islands were incorporated into the Soviet Union. However, the ownership of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan Islands and the Habomai Islands is being challenged by Japan. Russia’s Foreign Ministry has stated many times that Russia’s sovereignty over the islands is beyond doubt. In 1956, the Soviet Union and Japan signed a joint declaration on ceasing the state of war, but no peace treaty has been signed so far.