VLADIVOSTOK, September 10. /TASS/. Japan and Russia are taking joint efforts to finally sign a peace treaty, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Monday after his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Russia’s Far Eastern city of Vladivostok.
"Now that more than 70 years have elapsed after World War II, the issue of a peace treaty between our countries is still unsettled. We with President Putin are sparing no effort to resolve this problem," he said.
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 stressed that Russia’s ownership of these islands is fixed in international legal documents and cannot be doubted.