TOKYO, December 12. /TASS/. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is ready to put an end to its territorial dispute with Russia, the Kyodo news agency reported.
According to the news agency, the prime minister made this statement at a meeting with former residents of "the Northern Territories" (Japan’s term for the South Kuril Islands).
"I would like to hold high-level talks (with Russian President Vladimir Putin) meant to put an end to the territorial dispute," the Japanese prime minister said.
Russia and Japan have been holding consultations since the mid-20th century in order to conclude a peace treaty as a follow-up to World War II. The Kuril Islands issue remains the sticking point since after WWII the islands were handed over to the Soviet Union, while Japan has laid claims to the four southern islands.
Russia’s president is scheduled to visit Japan on December 15-16. Vladimir Putin will spend the first day of the visit in Shinzo Abe’s hometown of Nagato, in the Yamaguchi Prefecture. On December 16, the Russian leader will head to the country’s capital of Tokyo.