MOSCOW, November 16. /TASS/. Tokyo’s alliance obligations are important for peace treaty talks between Russia and Japan, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
When asked to comment on media reports claiming that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin had promised not to allow the setup of US military bases on the South Kuril Islands in case Moscow handed them over to Tokyo, Peskov stressed that "the leaders held a one-on-one conversation about the peace treaty issue."
"As for details, I would like to refrain from making them public. I can confirm that Tokyo’s alliance obligations are important as far as peace treaty talks go," the Russian presidential spokesman said.
Following a meeting between the Russian and Japanese leaders in Singapore, Peskov told reporters that Putin and Abe had agreed to speed up Russian-Japanese peace treaty talks based on the 1956 Joint Declaration, in which Moscow had expressed readiness to hand Shikotan Island and a group of small uninhabited islands of the Lesser Kuril Chain (called Habomai in Japan) over to Tokyo as a gesture of goodwill.
The Soviet Union and Japan signed the Joint Declaration on ending the war between the two countries and restoring diplomatic and consular relations in Moscow on October 19, 1956. The document’s Article 9 said that the Soviet government was ready to hand Shikotan Island and a group of small islands over to Japan, adding that Tokyo would get actual control of the islands after a peace treaty was signed. Both countries ratified the Declaration on December 8, 1956.
However, after Japan and the United States had signed the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security in 1960, the Soviet Union withdrew its obligation to hand over the islands. A Soviet government’s memorandum dated January 27, 1960, said that those islands would only be handed over to Japan if all foreign troops were pulled out of the country.