Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering the possibility of concluding a peace treaty with Russia if Moscow gives only two of the four disputed Kuril Islands to Japan, reported the Japanese news agency Kyodo with reference to government sources.
According to the sources of the news agency, the prime minister of Japan is ready to focus on the transfer of Habomai and Shikotan, the smaller islands of the Kuril Ridge. As noted by the sources, he understands that if Tokyo continues to insist on getting back the four disputed islands, it can not only lead to a deadlock in negotiations, but it will also reduce the chances of getting back at least Habomai and Shikotan.
“It is unrealistic. There is no way Putin will approve it,” a high-ranking government official close to Abe commented on the possibility of persuading Putin to give all disputed islands to Japan.
After public opinion assessment, the prime minister of Japan is expected to make a final decision on whether Japan should make a deal with Russia based on the transfer of the two smaller islands.
The parties will hold negotiations on January 22 in Moscow.
In November 2018, Japanese Prime Minister and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to intensify negotiations on a peace treaty and the disputed islands of the Kuril Ridge proceeding from the 1956 Joint Declaration. According to this document, the Soviet Union was obliged to transfer the islands of Shikotan and Habomai to Japan after concluding a post-war peace treaty.