Russian President Vladimir Putin’s proposed peace treaty with Japan would be impossible without settling the territorial dispute, said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the pre-election debates.
The Prime Minister recalled that Tokyo’s position regarding the status of the South Kurils, what he called the “northern territories,” remains unchanged and he personally stated this during the meeting with Putin. “I expressed our position to Russian President Vladimir Putin. First, we should settle the territorial dispute. Only then we can reach a peace agreement,” Abe said on NHK TV.
According to Abe, many specialists and analysts believe that the Putin’s proposal shows his desire to settle the problem of the peace treaty. Abe’s debate opponent, former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba replied that Putin’s proposal was carefully planned. “This proposal cannot be spontaneous, as he says. I am sure that everything was planned in advance.”
Earlier, Putin offered to first reach a peace agreement with Japan and then to settle the territorial dispute regarding the Kuril Islands afterwards. However, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga refused to support the initiative.