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    The plane of Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe at Pulkovo Airport, St. Petersburg

    An End to WWII? Japanese PM Abe Hopes to Resolve Country's Problems With Russia

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    Japan's Prime Minister said he was determined to sign a peace treaty with Russia. Due to Japan's failure to recognize Moscow's control of the Kuril Islands, the Soviet Union and Japan never signed a formal peace treaty following WWII, and one has never been signed between post-Soviet Russia and Japan.

    TOKYO (Sputnik) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced on Tuesday his intention to put an end to the problems inherited after World War II, namely the signing of a peace treaty with Russia.

    "We share the determination to put an end to the problems [signing a peace treaty with Russia] remaining after the war," Abe said at the annual National Congress, devoted to the issue of Russia's Kuril Islands, according to Kyodo News.

    Abe added that to resolve the conflict, which has remained frozen for 70 years, it was essential to elaborate "an approach of the future."

    Japan marks the Northern Territories [the Japanese name for the Kuril Islands] Day on February 7, the day when the Russian Empire and the Empire of Japan signed the 1855 Treaty of Shimoda.

    Russian-Japanese relations remain tainted by Tokyo's claims to several Russian islands. Japan wants the four southernmost Kuril Islands: Kunashir, Shikotan, Habomai and Iturup, which became part of Soviet Russia as part of the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty that transferred the control of the islands to the Soviet Union. Japan's stance has prevented Moscow and Tokyo from signing a peace treaty after World War II.

    The relations between the two states have recently been re-energized. In September 2016, Abe took part in the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, during which he held three-hour talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. One of the outcomes of the meeting was the announcement of Putin's visit to Japan on December 15, which had been postponed since 2014. During Putin's visit to Japan in mid-December, the sides agreed to step up economic cooperation in the Kuril Islands and discussed issues related to the peace treaty.

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    Shinzo Abe, Japan, Russia
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