20:28 GMT +323 January 2020
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    Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have agreed to seek a new approach to their nations' overdue peace treaty, a senior Japanese cabinet official said Monday.

    TOKYO (Sputnik) Russia and Japan have been de facto at war since 1945 when they failed to agree on the Kuril Islands ownership. Putin and Abe again touched upon the dispute at a meeting last Friday.

    "This time, the two sides agreed to continue their dialogue based on new ideas, rather than old ones with an aim for a breakthrough in the ongoing negotiations," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press briefing.

    Suga said that a new round of consultations would take place in Tokyo in June, adding Japan’s position remained unchanged. "First the return of four islands, then the signing of a peace treaty," he noted.

    At the heart of the row are Kunashiri, Etorofu, Shikotan islands and the Habomai islets, stretching from Hokkaido to the tip of Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. Moscow maintains that the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty transferring control of the islands to the Soviet Union stipulates Russian sovereignty over the Kurils, which Tokyo calls "occupied" northern territories.

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    Tags:
    peace treaty, Vladimir Putin, Yoshihide Suga, Shinzo Abe, Japan, Russia, Kuril Islands
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