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TOKYO, May 21. /TASS/. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in his greeting message to the participants of the third Russia-Japan forum that opened in Tokyo on Thursday that he was ready to raise relations with Russia "to a new level."
"Proceeding from strategic and long-term point of view, I want to raise relations between our countries to a new level. I suggest we consistently continue efforts to solve the existing problems through dialogue and develop relations in all spheres," the message said.
"Russia is Japan’s major neighbor and development of friendly relations is a guarantee of stability and prosperity in East Asia in the 21st century," the Japanese prime minister stressed. "After an official visit to Moscow, I had a possibility to hold talks with the Russian president with an aim of strengthening bilateral relations."
The first forum "Russia-Japan: Points of Contact" was held in Tokyo in late February 2013. It was attended by more than 600people of business, culture, science and sports. The second such forum was held in Moscow in September 2014. More than 800 delegates took part in eight panel discussions on such topics as medicine, the food industry, and the development of cultural ties.
The Russia-Japan forum is a platform for discussing future contacts and prospects for the development of bilateral cooperation in various spheres.
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 Kuriles — 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.