00:35 GMT +309 December 2019
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    A village in Yuzhno-Kurilsk on Kunashir Island of the Greater Kuril Ridge

    Tokyo's Recent Amendments to Its S Kurils Law to Impede Talks With Moscow

    © Sputnik / Ekaterina Chesnokova
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    The Kuril Islands are the subject of a long-standing territorial dispute between Russia and Japan that has prevented Moscow and Tokyo from signing a peace treaty after World War II.

    According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, recent amendments to Japan's law on South Kuril islands will impede future talks with Russia on joint economic activity.

    "The adopted amendments directly contradict the high-level agreements on the establishment of joint [Russia-Japan] economic activities in the southern Kuril Islands, including in the interests of creating an atmosphere of trust and cooperation between our two countries," the ministry said in a commentary posted on its website.

    READ MORE: Japanese Politician: Moscow, Tokyo Need Visa Waiver Program for Kurils

    Moscow went on to express regret over Tokyo's move as it undermines bilateral cooperation.

    "We regret to note that the step taken by the Japanese lawmakers puts serious obstacles to further progress in the negotiations on joint activities," the commentary said.

    Russian-Japanese relations have long been complicated by the fact that the two nations have never signed a permanent peace treaty after the end of World War II. The deal was not reached because of a disagreement over a group of four islands that are claimed by both countries — Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai — collectively referred to as the Southern Kurils by Russia and the Northern Territories by Japan.

    The Japanese parliament has recently adopted several amendments to the Act on Special Measures concerning Advancement of Resolution of Northern Territories Issues of 1982, stipulating that the joint economic activity must ultimately lead to the return of southern Kuril islands to Japan.

    In May, Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Moscow and discussed joint economic activities of the two countries on the Southern Kuril Islands, claimed by both countries. They agreed that a Japanese business mission would visit the islands in July or August this year.

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    law, Russian Foreign Ministry, South Kuril Islands, Japan, Russia
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