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Tokyo says G7 countries understand Japan’s plans to develop contacts with Russia

June 09, 2015, 8:20 UTC+3 TOKYO

Direct dialogue is important for resolving the issue of the Southern Kuril Islands

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One of the Kuril Islands

One of the Kuril Islands

© ITAR-TASS/Vladimir Sergeyev

TOKYO, June 9. /TASS/. The leaders of G7 countries have shown understanding in regard to the stance of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who is set to pursue a direct dialogue with Russia, a Japanese top government spokesman told reporters on Tuesday.

"At the recently held summit in Germany, the prime minister outlined his position to the heads of other countries of the Group of Seven that presupposes the importance of a direct dialogue between the leaders of Japan and Russia in the interests of resolving the issue on the Northern Territories [the Southern Kurils in Russia]," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

The Kuril Islands, which used to be Japan’s territory before WWII 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.

"At the meetings in Germany, there were statements in this view expressing understanding," he said.

Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida also expressed the importance of contacts with Moscow at another press conference. "It is necessary to pay important attention to the political dialogue with Russia. At the same time, the particular timeframe for the respective meetings has not been yet specified," he said.

On Monday, at a press conference in Germany after the G7 summit, the Japanese prime minister said he expected that the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Japan would be held during the year.

In late March, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists that President Putin had no plans to visit Japan "So far, such a visit is not scheduled," he said.

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