MOSCOW, June 9. /TASS/. Tokyo and Moscow have laid a solid foundation for cooperation and intend to move towards making a peace treaty step by step, Japanese Ambassador to Russia Toyohisa Kozuki said in an interview with TASS.
"A solid foundation has been laid for close cooperation between Japan and Russia and we intend to move towards our common goal step by step, which is making a peace treaty based on a future-oriented approach," he said.
The ambassador added that both countries considered the current situation to be abnormal when there was no peace treaty 70 years after the end of World War II. "During President Putin’s visit to Japan in late 2016, the two countries’ leaders expressed their strong determination to resolve the peace treaty issue," Kozuki pointed out. "I believe that the further deepening of trust-based ties between the people of our countries and the making of a peace treaty will facilitate permanent peace and stability between Japan and Russia, which will allow our countries to become a strong force capable of ensuring prosperity in the region and the entire world," the ambassador added.
For many years, Moscow and Tokyo have been holding consultations in order to clinch a peace treaty as a follow-up to World War II. The South Kuril Islands issue remains the sticking point since after WWII, the islands were handed over to the Soviet Union while Japan laid claims to the four southern islands. In 1956, the two countries signed a common declaration on ending the state of war and restoring diplomatic and all other relations, however, a peace treaty has still not been reached. Moscow has stated many times that Russia’s sovereignty over the islands cannot be called into question.