MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russia believes that joint work with Japan on the Kuril Islands is possible, but it is too early to talk about this until the territorial issue is resolved, Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters on Thursday
"We believe that joint work on the islands is possible, and we treat the issue in such a way that we must create favorable conditions for resolving territorial problems…Without creating such conditions, resulting in improvement of mutual trust, we will not be able to achieve anything," Putin said.
"There are issues that aggravate this problem, namely, security issues, including in this region, Japan's commitments to its allies. They require very careful and balanced consideration and elaboration," Putin stressed.
"Depending on how this work goes, a final decision will be made. To talk about this now is premature," the president added.
Moscow and Tokyo have never signed a permanent peace treaty after the World War II due to Tokyo's claims to a group of Russia's Southern Kurils islands. In December 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a second round of talks on resolving the dispute. The two leaders agreed to create a special regime on the islands leading to the implementation of joint economic projects in the area.