MOSCOW, January 31 (RIA Novosti) – Senior Russian and Japanese diplomats started consultations Friday in Tokyo in a bid to end a territorial row that has kept the two nations from signing a World War II peace treaty.
Tensions have traditionally centered on the disputed northern Pacific archipelago of the Kurill Islands, known as the Northern Territories by Japan, which were secured by the Soviet Union in 1945 as the war was at its close. Japan still claims the territory.
Russian deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov said both sides were ready for consultations on the most important issues of bilateral relations and international issues.
“This is the first formal round on the peace treaty between Russia and Japan, which will focus on the historic aspect,” Morgulov said.
Russia believes that the resolution of the Kurill Islands issue must be acceptable to both parties and based on the recognition of results of World War II under the UN Charter.
Japanese deputy Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama said the parties will discuss wide range of cooperation to strengthen Russian-Japanese relations and also hold a frank dialogue on the territorial row.
The talks come ahead of an expected visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Japan later this year.
Putin is also due to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose is set to attend the Sochi Winter Olympics opening in a week from now