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Japan: Resolve islands dispute before Russia peace treaty
September 12, 2018, 7:57 pm

The two leaders have met many times to resolve their WWII issues, but differ in approach [PPIO]

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appears to have balked at an offer by Russian President Vladimir Putin to sign a peace treaty “without any preconditions”.

A peace treaty has eluded both countries ever since Russian troops seized four Japanese islands – known as Kuril (or Kurilskiye Ostrova in Russian, the Japanese call them the ‘Northern Territories’) – in the summer of 1945.

The four disputed islands – Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai in the far east just south of the Sea of Okhotsk – were occupied by Soviet forces at the end of the war and are today home to thousands of Russian civilians.

There have been stumbling blocks which hindered resolution of the dispute in the past. Russia says it wants to sign a peace treaty before resolving the Kuril Islands dispute.

Japan, on the other hand, wants the islands issue resolved before agreeing to sign a peace treaty.

And on Wednesday on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Tokyo appeared to stick to that position.

Earlier, Putin had said that he wanted Japan and Russia to sign a peace treaty “not now, but by the end of the year”.

Meanwhile, Japanese and Russians say they are ready to invest and develop the Kuril Islands.

“We agreed to hold the third Japanese-Russian business mission to the South Kuril Islands by the end of this year, after which the fourth round of negotiations on joint activities will take place,” Putin said earlier in Vladivostok.

Abe has always sought to convince the Russians to resolve the issue of the islands through lucrative trade collaborations there.

“If we cooperate, we can achieve great results that bring mutual benefit,” Abe said earlier.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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