TOKYO, May 8. /TASS/. The Japanese and Russian deputy foreign ministers will hold consultations in Moscow on May 11 as part of preparations for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s upcoming visit to Russia, Japan’s top diplomat Taro Kono said at a press conference in Tokyo on Tuesday.
"We expect fruitful consultations to take place in Moscow and preparations for Prime Minister Abe’s visit to be a success," he said. The May 11 consultations are planned to involve Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov and his Japanese counterpart Takeo Mori. The parties will particularly discuss issues concerning joint economic activities on the Southern Kuril Islands and pressing global issues.
"We would like to make significant progress in resolving the peace treaty issue this year," Taro Kono noted.
On Monday, while commenting on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inauguration, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga expressed hope for successful talks on a peace treaty.
"By boosting future-oriented cooperation, Japan and Russia will be able to resolve the territorial dispute and make a peace agreement," he said. According to Suga, Japan will continue active talks aimed at resolving the issue of the Northern Territories [which is what Japan calls the Southern Kuril Islands - TASS] and making a peace agreement."
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. Moscow has been repeatedly pointing out that Russia’s sovereignty over these islands is based on international law and cannot be questioned.