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Abe, Putin to meet twice before year-end

The meetings are expected to focus on the peace treaty problem

TOKYO, October 12. /TASS/. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to hold two more meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin before the end of the current year, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported on Friday.

According to agency’s sources, the governments of the two states are now coordinating talks during the November 11-15 East Asia Summit in Singapore and on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires on November 30 - December 1.

The meetings are to focus on the peace treaty problem in the context of the Russian president’s proposal to sign it without preconditions by the end of the year.

According to Kyodo, Japanese government officials fear that the Russian president’s proposal may freeze the decision-making process regarding sovereignty over the four Southern Kuril islands for an indefinite period.

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 common 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.

Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested at the Eastern Economic Forum’s plenary session on September 12 that Moscow and Tokyo should make a peace treaty without any preconditions before the end of the year. He also suggested that the treaty may contain a provision in which Moscow and Tokyo declare their readiness to settle the territorial dispute. When asked to comment on the Russian president’s initiative, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official told TASS that Tokyo planned to hold peace treaty talks with Moscow once the Kuril issue is resolved and that position remained unchanged.