NEMURO /Japan/, July 1. /TASS/. The visit of Japan’s officials and businesses will favor progress in projects with the Russian side, special advisor to Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Eiichi Hasegawa told a news conference on Saturday.
"This trip will make a big input in details of the joint projects with Russia on the four Northern Islands (as the Japanese call the Kuril Islands)," he said, adding he would report results of the visit to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe without delay. "My opinion is that this work depends directly on the peace treaty talks."
The visit of Japanese officials and businesses to the South Kuril Islands began on June 27. On Saturday, they returned home. During the trip, they visited three islands - Kunashir, Iturup and Shikotan, where they studies the local infrastructures and considered options for implementation of joint projects there.
The delegation comprises members of the Japanese government office, officials from the Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, as well as from the Hokkaido Prefecture.
Russia and Japan have been holding consultations since the mid-20th century in order to clinch 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.
On December 15-16, 2016, the Russian president visited Japan for the first in eleven years. The peace treaty issue and the South Kuril Islands issue topped the agenda, while bilateral cooperation was also discussed. Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe adopted a joint statement saying that consultations on joint economic activities on the South Kuril Islands could become an important step on the way to a peace treaty.