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Japanese PM urges solution to Russia-Japan territorial dispute

September 30, 5:02 UTC+3 TOKYO
Shinzo Abe said "the path toward the resolution of the problem should be sought on the basis of relations of trust between the leaders of the two states".
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TOKYO, September 30. /TASS/. The absence of a peace treaty between Japan and Russia for over 70 years is not normal, but it is necessary to solve the problem however difficult it may be, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said during debates in parliament.

"Russia is our neighbor and a great power. For over 70 years since the end of war a peace treaty has not been signed between us, and it is not normal," Abe said.

He said "the path toward the resolution of the problem should be sought on the basis of relations of trust between the leaders of the two states."

"It is certainly hard to solve the problem of 70 years. I want to do everything possible," Abe said.

The problem of the southern Kuril Islands is the key obstacle to a complete normalization of the Russian-Japanese ties and the signing of a peace treaty. After the Second World War, all Kuril Islands were made part of the Soviet Union. But Japan does not agree that the islands of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and the Habomai island group belong to Russia. Tokyo calls the islands "Northern Territories".

In early September, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Abe held a meeting in Vladivostok during the Eastern Economic Forum; they agreed to boost dialogue. In December, Putin is to visit Japan.

Abe said during debate at the plenary session of the lower house of parliament earlier in September that he hopes for progress in talks with Russia on a peace treaty in a calm atmosphere with Putin during the latter's visit in December.

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