"We want to build ties with Japan and and we will, but we will not do anything that contradicts Russia's basic law", Putin said at an online meeting with editors-in-chief of Russian media outlets, as broadcast by Rossiya 1 TV channel.
The relations between Moscow and Tokyo have long been complicated by the fact that the two countries have never signed a permanent peace treaty following World War II. The main issue holding them back is their longstanding dispute over a group of four Kuril islands — Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan, and Habomai.
According to new amendments to the Russian constitution, adopted as a result of the all-Russian vote last year, the transfer of Russian lands to other countries is now officially prohibited. Commenting on Moscow's move to amend the basic law and include such restrictions in it, Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said that his country would continue negotiations with Russia to settle the territorial dispute and conclude a peace treaty.