"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.