Russia and Japan will continue negotiations on the peace treaty, stated Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe at the press-conference following the bilateral meeting in Moscow, the Russian service of Radio Svoboda reports.
According to Putin, both parties are interested in the signing of the document. Putin said that the conditions of the peace treaty should be acceptable for both countries and supported by society. The Russian President noted that Moscow will adhere to the Agreement of 1956.
Abe, in turn, stated that the problem that had not been resolved for over 70 years "should be resolved, but it is not easy to do that." He also said that Moscow and Tokyo agreed to organize a new charter flight for the former residents of the southern part of the Kuril Islands, so they could visit the graves of their ancestors.
The Japanese Prime Minister said that he is looking forward to the meeting with the Russian President in June 2019.
Japan does not recognize Russia’s ownership of the Iturup, Kunashir and Habomai Islands. They were annexed by Russia during World War II. Russia and Japan still have not signed the peace treaty because of the sovereignty dispute over the Islands.
In November, after the meeting between Abe and Putin, Japan announced that it was ready to adhere to the Soviet–Japanese Joint Declaration of 1956. According to this Declaration, the USSR agreed to hand over the Habomai and Shikotan Islands to Japan after the peace treaty between the two countries is signed.