MOSCOW, August 30. /TASS/. Issues of the Russia-Japan peace treaty will be one of the topics to be discussed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at their meeting on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum on September 5, Russian president’s aide Yuri Ushakov said on Friday.
"Puti will meet with Abe on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum on September 5. Naturally, they will discuss issues of bilateral cooperation and problems related to the very sensitive issue, i.e. that of the peace treaty," he said, adding the Moscow’s position on that matter "is clear for everyone."
Apart from it, according to the Kremlin spokesman, the two leaders will also focus on trade and economic cooperation between Russia and Japan. Thus, in his words, bilateral trade went up by 17% in 2018 and reached 21.3 billion US dollars, but dropped by 0.8% in the first six months of the current year. The two countries have good prospects for strengthening cultural and humanitarian ties and cooperation in such spheres as public health and peaceful use of nuclear energy.
Russia and Japan also develop military cooperation. "The chief of staff of Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force visited Russia in May and the Russian Navy commander-in-chief plans to visit Japan soon. Joint anti-piracy drills in the Gulf of Aden are scheduled for December," Ushakov said, adding that the first such drills were held in November 2018.
Abe is a traditional participant in the Eastern Economic Forum, the Kremlin aide added.
Since the 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 declaration was ratified by the two countries’ parliaments on December 8, 1956.
The Russian foreign ministry has repeatedly said that Russia’s sovereignty over these islands, which is committed to paper in international documents, cannot be called to question.