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Russian, Japanese diplomats discuss joint economic activities on South Kuril Islands

The previous round of consultations was held in Tokyo in early September

MOSCOW, November 6. /TASS/. The sixth round of Russian-Japanese consultations on joint activities on the South Kuril Islands took place in Moscow on Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"The parties assessed the results of pilot events related to joint economic activities in the areas of waste management and tourism, which took place between August and November," the statement reads. "The meeting’s participants also discussed pressing bilateral issues," the Foreign Ministry added.

The Russian delegation was led by Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov, and the Japanese delegation was headed by his counterpart Takeo Mori. The consultations also involved officials from Russia’s federal agencies and members of the Sakhalin regional government.

The Russian Foreign Ministry added that a date for the next round of talks would be set via diplomatic channels.

The previous round of consultations was held in the Japanese capital of Tokyo in early September.

Peace treaty issue

Since the mid-20th century, Russia and Japan have been holding consultations 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 laid claims to the four southern islands. In 1956, the two countries signed a joint declaration on ending the state of war and restoring diplomatic and all other relations, however, a peace treaty has still not been reached. Moscow has stated many times that Russia’s sovereignty over the islands cannot be called into question.

The two countries have also been holding consultations on joint economic activities on the South Kuril Islands in the areas of aquaculture, greenhouse farming, tourism, wind energy and waste management. The two countries consider joint economic activities to be an important step towards signing a peace treaty. However, Tokyo and Moscow have different views on ways to implement such projects. Russia believes that it should be done in compliance with Russian laws, while Japan suggests establishing some "special system" for the southern Kuril Islands.