Tokyo to pursue peace treaty with Moscow despite strained ties: PM
Japanese Prime Minister says his country aims at settling the issue with Russia regarding the disputed Kuril islands.
Japan's Prime Minister stated on Monday that Tokyo will keep following its policy that aims at solving its territorial dispute with Moscow and signing a peace treaty.
"The situation in Japanese-Russian relations is difficult because of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine but Japan will continue to pursue its policy aimed at resolving the territorial dispute and signing a peace treaty," Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told the lower house of parliament.
The negotiations between Russia and Japan have been ongoing for decades now in order to achieve a peace agreement.
After WWII, Russia and Japan have not signed a peace treaty, and they have territorial disputes over the Kuril Islands. With both sides still 'at war', the sovereign fate of the islands is still unclear.
While Japan protests the visit of Russian officials to the islands, Russia fears the placement of US bases and missiles on the islands if they were to be handed to Tokyo.
Russia also said it was walking away from the dialogue with Japan on joint economic activity on the South Kuril Islands, blocking the prolongation of Japan’s status as a sectoral dialogue partner of the Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation.
Later in April, Japan described the Southern Kuril islands - known in Japan as the Northern Territories - as the area "illegally occupied" by Russia in its Diplomatic Bluebook for the first time since 2003.
In October, Moscow said it is impossible to negotiate a peace treaty between Russia and Japan under the current circumstances.