Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kanis told the country's parliament on Thursday that he intends to find a diplomatic solution to the territorial dispute with Russia, the Kyodo news agency reported.
Both Moscow and Tokyo have laid claim to the Kuril Islands, called the Northern Territories by Japan, since they were occupied by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II. The dispute over the islands has prevented Russia and Japan from signing a peace treaty to formally end World War II hostilities.
"In recent years, Russia has increased its interest in the Asian-Pacific region, while there is no noticeable progress in the negotiations on the northern islands," Kan said. "I want to once again properly get down to solving [the problem]."
Kan ordered the country's ambassador in Moscow to collect information on "the situation in Russia" over President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to the Kuril Islands, Japanese NHK TV channel said on Wednesday.
On Monday, Medvedev became the first Russian president to visit one of the four disputed Kuril Islands.
Medvedev and Kan were due to meet at the Asia Pacific (APEC) summit in on November 13-14 in the Japanese city of Yokohama, but Kan said on Tuesday that he was not sure the meeting would go ahead. The Japanese ambassador to Russia said the talks are likely to take place.
TOKYO, November 4 (RIA Novosti)