TOKYO, February 07. /ITAR-TASS/. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a Tokyo rally demanding return of disputed islands to Japan on Friday that he was determined to conclude a post-World War Two peace treaty with Russia and settle the "major problem" of this territorial irritant.“Striving to develop the whole complex of Japan-Russia relations, I will be determined in talks to finally resolve the issue of the Northern Territories, this major problem in relations with Russia, and a peace treaty." Absence of an agreement to signal the end of wartime hostilities between the two nations was "abnormal", said the leader.
Abe spoke with deliberation, avoiding tart remarks in a brief speech addressing the issue of islands known by Russia as the South Kurils. References to "illegal occupation" or "originally Japanese territories" typical of some Japanese politicians and invariably provoking grievance in Russia were avoided as descriptions of territory disputed since the war ended in 1945.
National rallies of this kind are held annually on February 7 to mark the first Russia-Japan accord signed on this day in 1855. These gatherings are traditionally attended by ministers, ruling party and opposition deputies and former residents of the South Kurils. Similar assemblies are held in other Japanese cities.