TOKYO, September 9. /TASS/. Japan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Takeo Mori on Monday met with his Russian counterpart, Oleg Morgulov, to discuss a wide range of bilateral issues, the Japanese foreign ministry reported.
"The sides discussed a wide spectrum of topics of bilateral relations, including issues of security and the problem of the peace treaty," the ministry said.
Morgulov told journalists last week that the current round of Russian-Japanese consultations were expected to raise issues related to the activities of the Japanese-US military alliance and Russia’s military buildup on the Kuril Islands.
Russia and Japan have been negotiating a peace treaty after World War II since the 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, 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 declaration was ratified by the two countries’ parliaments on December 8, 1956.
The Russian-Japanese top-level talks in Japan’s Osaka in late June yielded an agreement to continue efforts towards signing the peace treaty.