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MOSCOW, December 3. /TASS/. Japan hopes for a positive result on a peace treaty, which could satisfy both countries, during the upcoming visit of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin to Japan, the country’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told a news conference after his meeting with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Saturday.
"The upcoming visit of your country’s President Vladimir Putin is a finalizing major event in the Russian-Japanese relations this year," the minister said. "Regarding the issue of the peace treaty, we would like to have a result, which would be hailed by peoples of the two countries."
"During Putin’s visit, we also want to have progress in various spheres, so that our relations move far ahead opening horizons of the Russian-Japanese relations," he continued. "This is what I mean, speaking about a maximum result from the upcoming visit of Vladimir Putin."
Russia and Japan have no peace treaty signed after World War II. The settlement of this 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 Kurils - Shikotan, Habomai, Iturup and Kunashir, which Japan calls its northern territories.
After World War II, in September 1945, Japan signed its surrender, and in February 1946, the Kuril Islands were declared territories of the Soviet Union. In 1956, the USSR and Japan signed a Joint Declaration thus re-establishing bilateral diplomatic, trade and other kinds of relations after World War II. According to the document, the USSR unilaterally expressed readiness to return the Shikotan and Hamobai islands as a gesture of good will, but only after signing a peace treaty. This deal was rejected by Japan that, in the context of the Cold War, claimed the Kunashir and Iturup islands as well.
In early September, Putin and Abe met in Russia’s Vladivostok during the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) and agreed to step up bilateral talks. They decided to meet in Peru at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in November. The Russian president will pay a visit to Japan on December 14-15.