"As it was an explicit exchange of views between them, I would not like to disclose its contents … There are no changes in the key position of Japan – [we want] to sign a peace agreement, to solve the problem of returning four islands," Suga told journalists.
On November 20, Putin and Abe held a meeting on the sidelines of APEC summit in Peru. Following the meeting, Putin said that Russia was ready to cooperate with Japan on the Kurils but stressed that the islands were an integral territory of Russia, which it rightfully received after World War II.
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, encompassing Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai.
The relations between the two states have recently been re-energized. In September, Abe took part in the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, during which he held three-hour talks with the Russian president. One of the outcomes of the meeting was the announcement of Putin's visit to Japan on December 15, which has been postponed from 2014.