Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with Japan’s Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba on Saturday to discuss the disputed Kuril Islands, the Kremlin said.
Gemba, who is currently on a visit to Russia, will meet Putin in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi “to hold a substantial discussion on the territorial issue” and “lay ground for the further meeting of both leaders.”
Japan’s senior diplomatic official will also meet with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to discuss signing the World War II peace treaty, which Japan has consistently refused to sign because of its territorial claims on Russia.
On Wednesday, Gemba said that he considered it possible for the disputed Kuril Islands to be jointly used with Russia.
Gemba was among the first Japanese politicians who openly said Japan might accept Russia’s proposal to jointly develop the four disputed islands, which Japan calls its “Northern Territories,” if the form of cooperation is in line with Japan’s official stance.
The Kuril Islands dispute has clouded relations between Moscow and Tokyo for decades. Japan claims the four islands, Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan and Habomai, based on the 1855 Treaty of Shimoda, the first Russo-Japanese agreement addressing the status of Sakhalin Island and the Kurils.