TOKYO, November 7. /TASS/. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin shares his desire to resolve the territorial dispute and make a peace treaty, as Abe himself said in an interview with the Bungeishunju magazine.
"We both share a desire to find a solution to the territorial dispute and make a peace treaty," Abe said, adding that there was a relationship of trust between him and the Russian leader.
The Japanese prime minister also pointed out that in his two remaining years in office, he would seek to resolve the peace treaty issue and the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea in the 1970s.
According to Abe, he has no plans to seek a fourth term as the ruling party’s head in a bid to once again become the country’s prime minister.
Peace treaty issue
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 joint 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.
In November 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed that the two countries would speed up peace treaty talks based on the 1956 Joint Declaration. The document 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. 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.
The parties agreed to continue efforts to reach a peace treaty at a Russian-Japanese summit that took place in Osaka in late June.