TOKYO (Sputnik) – During talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held in Sochi in May, an agreement was reached "not to get tied up by the course of the past talks, to search for agreement," the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper quoted a high-ranking political source as saying on Friday.
According to the newspaper, Japan expects to reclaim only the Shikotan and the Habomai islets of the Kuril archipelago, not all four together with the two southernmost large islands of Iturup and Kunashir.
Later in the day, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga refuted the reports of Japan’s alleged plans to only lay claims to two islands. Suga stressed that the Japanese stance on the Kurils issue has not changed and that the country claims all four of the southern islands.
Putin and Abe discussed the territorial dispute between their countries at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on September 2-3.
Earlier this month, Suga said that discussions of the Kuril Islands issue will continue and both Russia and Japan will strive to sign a final peace treaty.
Japan and Russia never signed a permanent peace treaty after World War II due to a disagreement over four islands, which Russia calls the Southern Kurils and Japan the Northern Territories. The disputed islands, located in the Sea of Okhotsk, were claimed by Soviet forces at the end of the war.