TOKYO, September 12. /TASS/. The Japanese government intends to conduct negotiations with Russia to sign a peace treaty after resolving the territorial issue, this stance has remained unchanged, a source in the Japanese Foreign Ministry told TASS on Wednesday.
"We are determined to continue intense negotiations in accordance with our policy, which is aimed at signing a peace treaty, while resolving the issue of the ownership of four northern islands (that’s what Japan calls Russia’s southern Kuril Islands - TASS). Our stance on that score has remained unchanged," the source noted.
Earlier in the day, Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking at a plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, suggested signing a peace treaty with Japan by the end of this year without any preconditions.
Russia and Japan have been in talks to sign a peace treaty since the middle of last century. The main stumbling block to this is the issue of sovereignty over 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 challenged by Japan. The Russian Foreign Ministry has stated on numerous occasions that Russia’s sovereignty over the islands is beyond any doubt.