TOKYO, March 19. /TASS/. Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida has pledged to try to reach progress on the Japan-Russian peace treaty problem at his next meeting with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.
"Our countries are currently in strenuous talks to specificate the two leaders’ agreements," Kishida said in an interview with TASS ahead of a 2+2 meeting of Japanese and Russian foreign and defense ministers due to take place in Tokyo on March 20.
"On March 20, I plan to hold discussions with Minister Lavrov and try to reach progress on that problem," he stressed.
"I don’t think it is normal when our countries have no peace treaty although more than 70 years have elapsed after the end of the war," he said. "The leaders of our countries are committed to sign it by means of reaching a final solution to the territorial dispute in a mutually acceptable manner."
Japan and Russia have been negotiating this problem for year, the Japanese top diplomat reminded. "After the diplomatic relations were restored in 1956, there were periods when thanks to the efforts of these or those leaders of our countries certain progress was achieved towards resolution of the problem of northern territories," he noted. "Relying on this history of talks, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is committed to finally resolve this problem within the lifetime of his generation."
"I am in serious discussions with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on that problem. During Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan, at the end of last year, the leaders of our countries had a tete-a-tete meeting, without other participants, and after their talks they expressed sincere commitment to settle the problem of the peace treaty," Kishida said. "And they reached an agreement to begin consultations on joint economic activities on four islands and on trips there by their former inhabitants.".