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    According to media reports, Japan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama has left Japan for a 3-day official visit to Moscow.

    TOKYO (Sputnik) Japan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama has left Japan for a 3-day official visit to Moscow, local media reported on Wednesday.

    The high-ranking diplomat is expected to meet with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov to resume talks on a bilateral peace treaty, Japan's national broadcaster NHK said.

    According to the report, Tokyo expects that Sugiyama’s trip could pave the way for a solution to a long-standing territorial dispute and a visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Japan.

    Japan and Russia never signed a permanent peace treaty after World War II because of 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 WWII.

    During bilateral talks on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York last month, the Japanese prime minister and the Russian president agreed to step up negotiations for a mutually acceptable solution to the territorial dispute.

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