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Tokyo says its position on Kuril Islands remains unchanged

November 21, 2016, 10:30 UTC+3 TOKYO

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga denied reports that Tokyo may change its previous stance based on the claims to the South Kuril Islands of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai

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A view of Yuzhno-Kurilsk Bay on Kunashir Island, the southernmost one of the Kuril Islands

A view of Yuzhno-Kurilsk Bay on Kunashir Island, the southernmost one of the Kuril Islands

© Sergei Krasnoukhov/TASS

TOKYO, November 21. /TASS/. The Japanese government said on Monday its previous approach towards the Southern Kuril Islands remains unchanged.

"Our fundamental position remains unchanged that is aimed at solving issue on the ownership of four islands and concluding a peace treaty with Russia," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters in Tokyo.

He denied reports that Tokyo may change its previous stance based on the claims to the South Kuril Islands of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai.

Russia and Japan have been in talks to fully mend bilateral relations and sign a peace treaty for decades. The main stumbling block to this is the issue of the ownership of the Southern Kuril Islands. After the end of World War II the Kuril Islands were incorporated into the Soviet Union. However, the ownership of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan islands and the Habomai Islands is challenged by Japan. In 1956, the Soviet Union and Japan signed a joint declaration on ceasing the state of war, however no peace treaty has been signed until now.

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