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TOKYO, December 5. /TASS/. Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held a detailed discussion of the problem of a Japanese-Russian peace treaty in the run-up to President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan.
The talks took place in Moscow on December 3, Yoshihide Suga, the chief cabinet secretary told a news conference on Monday.
"A fundamental discussion on the signing of a peace treaty was held," he said. "It has a direct link to the [forthcoming] summit in Yamaguchi prefecture."
Suga said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe received a message, which Putin handed to Kishida at a meeting in St Petersburg on December 2.
Earlier on Monday, Kishida informed Abe on the results of his trip to Moscow. He told reporters after the meeting the Prime Minister had made an instruction to continue intensive efforts by way of preparations for the summit.
Lavrov and Kishida held talks in Moscow on December 3. Lavrov said afterwards Russia and Japan had a number of identical positions on the peace treaty.
"In what concerns the spheres of the treaty where our positions could be identical, there are some," he said. "This coincidence is reflected in the clear willingness of our leaders to find a mutually acceptable resolution that would be acceptable for the public quarters in both countries."
Russia and Japan have been conducting talks to elaborate a peace treaty upon the end of World War II since the middle of the 20th centuries. The main stumbling block is the problem of the Southern Kurile Islands - Kunashir, Iturup, Shikotan, and the Habomai archipelago that went over to the USSR after the end of the war.
Japan continues viewing the latter islands as parts of its own territory.
Moscow and Tokyo are preparing for Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan that is scheduled for December 15-16, Putin’s aide Yuri Ushakov said.