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Japan’s Foreign Ministry denies reports on readiness to reclaim only two of Kuril islands

Japan’s newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun reported earlier that Tokyo was ready to sign a peace treaty in order to boost its relations with Moscow

TOKYO, September 23. /TASS/. Japan’s foreign ministry has denied the reports saying that Japan is ready to sign a peace treaty with Russia reclaiming only two of the Kuril islands instead of four, as the Japanese authorities officially demand.

"This is incorrect," Japan’s foreign ministry told TASS. "The Japanese government will persist in its policy of holding talks with Russia on the peace treaty that would be based on a solution to the issue of the attribution of the four islands."

Japan’s major newspaper, Yomiuri Shimbun, reported on Friday that Tokyo was ready to sign a peace treaty in order to boost its relations with Moscow, and expected to reclaim only the Shikotan island and the Habomai islet of the Kuril archipelago.

According to the newspaper, Japan’s government will not officially withdraw the claim to the largest and most inhabited part of the South Kuril island, that is the islands of Kunashir and Iturup. Tokyo allegedly intended to seek a free visits’ permission for Japanese nationals and also the permission for the joint economic exploitation of the islands. The Yomiuri Shimbun says that on this basis Japan’s government hopes to reclaim the other two islands after a peace treaty have been signed.

Now, Tokyo is officially expressing willingness to sign a peace treaty provided that its national sovereignty over all the four islands is recognized. However, at the same time Japan says that it is ready to "flexibly" treat the conditions of the return of the islands, its timing and schedule.