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    Russian State Duma calls peace talks with Japan 'senseless'

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    Russia's lower house of parliament adopted a statement on Wednesday declaring peace treaty talks with Japan pointless unless Tokyo cancels amendments to a law on the disputed Kuril Islands.

    MOSCOW, June 24 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's lower house of parliament adopted a statement on Wednesday declaring peace treaty talks with Japan pointless unless Tokyo cancels amendments to a law on the disputed Kuril Islands.

    On June 11, the lower chamber of the Japanese parliament amended a bill on what Japan calls the Northern Territories, declaring the islands "the historical territory of Japan" and demanding action for their swift return.

    The State Duma reacted on Wednesday by saying that the Japanese decision meant that "Efforts to resolve the peace treaty issue have no political or practical perspectives."

    The statement added that the amendments left the Japanese government no room for maneuver in dialogue with Russia.

    Russia and Japan have yet to sign a formal treaty ending World War II hostilities, due to the dispute over the four South Kuril Islands, former Japanese territory annexed by the Soviet Union at the end of the war.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry has earlier ruled out the possibility of returning the territories to Japan.

    "It is well known that the Southern Kuril Islands were transferred to Russia in the end of the World War II on legal grounds," the Foreign Ministry said. "For this reason, this issue was not, is not and will not be a subject for discussion."

     

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