05/07/2016, 17.36
RUSSIA – JAPAN
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Shinzo Abe: close to a breakthrough with Moscow

Japan’s prime minister meets Vladimir Putin in Sochi, notes a new “feeling” with respect to the Northern Territories, aka Kuril Islands. The two leaders plan to “get directly involved in the negotiations” to settle an issue that has been lingering since World War Two and prevented the two countries from signing a peace treaty.

Moscow (AsiaNews) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe “said that today he could feel a breakthrough” with respect to Japan’s territorial dispute with Russia, said Japanese Foreign Ministry press secretary Yasuhisa Kawamura after Abe met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the latter’s holiday residence in Sochi.

Japan and Russia remain at odds with each over a group of four islands in northern Japan seized by the Soviet Union at the end of World War Two. They are known as the Kuril Islands in Russia, and the Northern Territories in Japan.

Lingering tensions between the two old foes have prevented them from signing a peace treaty to bring to a formal end their Second World War hostilities. This, in turn, has hindered bilateral trade and investment ties.

“The prime minister said that Mr Putin also shared . . . the same feeling” and the two leaders “agreed today that they themselves directly get involved in the negotiation,” Kawamura explained.

In view of this, the Russian and Japanese leaders agreed to “promote negotiations by employing a new approach without being bothered by the old previous thinking”, Kawamura added. This is literally a new element,” he said, without giving more detail.

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