TOKYO, November 2. /TASS/. Japan’s government hopes Russian and Japan would be able to reach a mutually acceptable solution to the territorial dispute, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Thursday.
"We think we will be able to reach such a solution to the problem of the four northern islands [as Japan refers to Russia’s Southern Kurils - TASS] that would be acceptable for both sides," he stressed, adding that the settlement of the territorial dispute would facilitate the signing of a peace treaty between the two countries.
According to Suga, further talks on that issue will be conducted on the basis of agreements reached between the two nation’s leaders at their meetings, including during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan last year.
Since mid-20th century, Russia and Japan have been negotiating a peace treaty after World War II. 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, Japan challenged the ownership of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan islands and a number of uninhibited islands of the Lesser Kuril Ridge called the Habomai Islands in Japan.
In 1956, the Soviet Union and Japan signed a joint declaration on ceasing the state of war. The two countries resumed diplomatic and other relations, however no peace treaty has been signed until now. The Soviet Union committed to paper in the declaration its readiness to hand over Shikotan and Habomai to Japan as a gesture of good will after the peace treaty is ultimately signed.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly said stressed that Russia’s ownership of these islands is fixed in international legal documents and cannot be doubted.