TOKYO, September 4 (RIA Novosti) - Tokyo intends to continue dialogue with Moscow to solve territorial disputes, sign a peace treaty and discuss the situation in Ukraine, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said Thursday.
"I think we should take good care of such a political dialogue, and it is important to keep our efforts and promote discussion of various issues between Japan and Russia," the minister said at his first conference since the new government was formed Wednesday.
Japan’s position concerning its territorial claims and the peace treaty with Russia remains unchanged, Kishida said.
"There are currently some issues between Japan and Russia, especially regarding the Ukrainian crisis," but Japan "sets a high value on a political dialogue with Russia, to also rouse it to constructive actions in this issue," Kishida said.
Japan and Russia have been locked in a dispute over four of the Kuril Islands since the end of World War II, which has prevented the countries from signing a formal peace treaty. Russia refers to the islands as the Southern Kurils, while their name in Japanese translates to the Northern Territories. The islands, which the Soviet Union took from the Japanese Empire in the final days of the war, are currently administered by Russia.
Over the past few months, the United States and the European Union introduced several rounds of targeted sanctions against the Russian economy, unjustifiably blaming Moscow for meddling in Ukraine’s internal affairs.
As the Ukrainian crisis escalated, the United States pressed for its Western allies to follow its lead. A number of other countries, including Japan, followed the United States’ lead and drew up their own blacklists.
On August 5, Japan unveiled a list of 40 sanctioned individuals and two Crimean companies while also banning imports of Crimean goods.