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TOKYO, March 20. /TASS/. Japan and Russia are ready to continue their close work on a peace treaty, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said on Monday.
Japan’s top diplomat made this statement at a press conference after a Russian-Japanese 2+2 meeting of the defense and foreign ministers from both countries.
"Considering the resolve displayed by the leaders of both countries late last year, we confirmed that we will continue the close negotiating process on the issue of concluding a peace treaty," the Japanese foreign minister said.
The talks between Japanese and Russian foreign and defense ministers in the 2+2 format will have a positive impact on negotiations on signing a peace treaty, according to Kishida.
"Such a format of talks has a very positive influence on the negotiating process on concluding a peace treaty," Kishida said.
"The development of bilateral relations focused on the future is very important, especially taking into account the worsening situation in security in the region," he added.
"That’s why we will continue active contacts - this includes two visits of Japan’s prime minister to Russia scheduled for this year," Kishida said.
Russia and Japan have been negotiating since the middle of the 20th century a peace treaty after World War II. The main obstacle is the problem of the south Kuril Islands. The archipelago became the territory of the USSR after the war. Japan, however, disputes the Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai status.
In 1956, Russia and Japan inked a declaration, which put an end to the state of war between the countries and restored diplomatic and other relations. But the issue of the border near the Kuril Islands remained unsettled then. At the same time, the Soviet Union expressed a goodwill gesture in the declaration to give Shikotan and Habomai to Japan after a peace treaty was signed.