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Japan’s premier says he intends to discuss Kuril Islands with Putin at G20 summit

Abe expects to discuss joint economic activity on the south Kuril Islands

TOKYO, June 19. /TASS/. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at a press conference on Monday he expected to discuss the issue of the South Kuril Islands, including Russian-Japanese economic activity on these territories, with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin at a G20 summit in Germany.

"We agreed with President Putin that we would hold a meeting at a G20 summit. I expect to discuss joint economic activity [on the south Kuril Islands], and also a possibility for former residents of the islands to visit the graves of their ancestors," he said.

Abe also said he intended "to take all efforts to achieve progress in resolving the issue of concluding a peace treaty."

The Japanese premier also noted that the dialogue with the Russian leader was maintained on the basis of trustworthy relations they had established.

Russia and Japan have no peace treaty signed after World War II. The settlement of this problem inherited by Russia’s diplomacy from the Soviet Union is hampered by the years-long dispute over the four islands of Russia’s Southern Kurils Shikotan, Khabomai, Iturup and Kunashir, which Japan calls its northern territories.

After World War II, in September 1945, Japan signed its capitulation, and in February 1946, the Kuril Islands were declared territories of the Soviet Union.

During the Cold War, Moscow did not recognize the territorial problem, but in October 1993, when Russian President Boris Yeltsin was on an official visit in Japan, the existence of the problem was confirmed officially. However, the two countries have reached no compromise over the dispute yet.