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Japan not to voice protest over Russia's statement on Kuril Islands — official

January 27, 7:02 UTC+3 TOKYO
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said on Tuesday that Russia did not see the signing of a peace treaty with Japan as synonymous with the settlement of the long-running territorial dispute
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© Sergei Fadeichev/TASS

TOKYO, January 27. /TASS/. The Japanese government considers unacceptable Moscow’s stance on the Northern Territories, as Russia’s Southern Kurils are called in Japan, but it does not plan to make a protest in connection with the recent statement of the Russian foreign minister, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Hagiuda told a news conference on Wednesday.

"We consider the position of the Russian side absolutely unacceptable," he noted after Lavrov said on Tuesday that Russia did not see the signing of a peace treaty with Japan as synonymous with the settlement of the long-running territorial dispute.

"The position of the Japanese government on the issue was stated clearly, and we are not considering any concrete action in connection with these statements [of the Russian foreign minister]," he said, adding that Japan intended to continue "pursuing an adequate policy" in the territorial dispute.

"We do not consider that the peace treaty is synonymous with solving the territorial problem. This is a step that is needed for the relations between the two countries to be normal not only in fact but also in legal implementation," Sergey Lavrov said at an annual news conference on Tuesday.

Lavrov also said the Russian president and Japan’s prime minister had agreed that the peace treaty should be necessarily among those issues that are due to be solved.

Lavrov reminded the audience that the only document that was signed and ratified by the two countries in 1956 was the so-called declaration that said a peace treaty should be signed. The document also said that then the Soviet Union could possibly hand over these two southern islands as a "gesture of good will."

"This declaration first of all proceeded from the main thesis - it confirmed that the Soviet Union and Japan recognized the results of World War II," he said, adding that it was impossible to move forward without confirming this position.

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