TOKYO, September 3. /TASS/. The Japanese government will continue to seek to resolve the territorial issue with Russia and sign a peace treaty on the basis of an approach that would be acceptable to both sides, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters at a regular news conference in Tokyo on Monday.
"We will seek to resolve the territorial issue and sign a peace treaty based on a future-oriented idea, according to which Japan and Russia will eventually be able to find an option that would be acceptable to both sides," he said.
He stressed though that the fact that Russia is "beefing up its military presence on the four northern islands" contravenes Japan’s stance. "Using various opportunities, we issued protests on that score. To resolve this issue fundamentally, it is necessary to solve the problem of the northern territories (that’s what Japan calls Russia’s southern Kuril Islands - TASS) in general," Suga noted.
Russia and Japan have been in talks to sign a peace treaty since the mid-20th century. The main stumbling block to achieving this is the ownership of the southern Kuril Islands. After the end of World War II, the Kuril Islands were incorporated into the Soviet Union. However, the ownership of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan Islands and the Habomai Islands is being challenged by Japan. Russia’s Foreign Ministry has stated on numerous occasions that Russia’s sovereignty over the islands is beyond doubt. In 1956, the Soviet Union and Japan signed a joint declaration on ceasing the state of war, but no peace treaty has been signed so far.