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TOKYO, August 25. /TASS/. Japan is not going to change its stance on the possibility of joint economic activities on the South Kuril Islands, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Friday.
"As far as the four northern islands (Japan’s name for Russia’s Southern Kurils) and joint economic activities are concerned, our legal stance on this issue will remain unchanged," he said.
Suga added that this "will be our principal message for the upcoming top level talks due next month."
"The stance of our government is to determine the ownership of the four islands and then to sign a peace treaty. We want to continue our negotiations with the Russian side on the basis of this fundamental stance," he said.
According to Suga, Japan closely follows the Russian government's initiative to create the advanced development territory (ADT) on the islands and is currently gathering and analyzing all relevant information on the issue.
On August 23, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed an order to create the Kurils advanced development territory (ADT) in the village of Malokurilskoye on the island of Shikotan. It will contribute to the formation of an industrial center for deep processing of fish and other aquatic biological resources in the Sakhalin region. The regime of ADT will provide the region with competitive advantages for attracting investors and selling products of industrial enterprises, including on the markets of the Asia-Pacific region.
Russia and Japan have been negotiating a peace treaty following World War II since mid-20th century. The main stumbling block to this is the issue of the ownership of the southern Kuril Islands. After the end of World War II, all Kuril Islands were incorporated into the Soviet Union. However, the ownership of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan islands and the Habomai Islands is challenged by Japan.
Moscow has repeatedly stated that Russia’s sovereignty over the islands could not be questioned.