Japan to sign peace treaty with Russia

Japan to sign peace treaty with Russia

Tokyo, Oct 19 (IANS) Japan is planning to sign a post-World War-II peace treaty with Russia without insisting on resolving the dispute between the two countries over the sovereignty of the South Kuril Islands.

The government of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is currently reviewing its diplomatic strategy with Moscow ahead of the Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan, scheduled for mid-December, a government source told Kyodo news agency on Wednesday.

As a step prior to the signing of a peace treaty, Tokyo has defended the resolution of the conflict in the South Kuril Islands, an area claimed by Tokyo, but administered by Russia which calls it the Northern Territories, Efe news reported.

The South Kuril Islands are located off the eastern coast of Hokkaido in northern Japan, and are composed of three main islands: Etorofu, Kunashir and Shikotan, as well as the small islands of Habomai.

Russia argues that the Soviet Union legitimately seized the islands shortly before the end of World War-II in 1948, when Soviet forces invaded the archipelago in a military operation.

Moscow insists on respecting the contents of a joint statement made in 1956, in which Tokyo and Moscow reached a preliminary agreement on the return of Shikotan and the Habomai Islands to Japan if a peace treaty was signed.

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