04:43 GMT +315 November 2018
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    The coast of the Sea of Okhotsk near Cape Stolbchaty in the west of Kunashir Island of the Greater Kuril Ridge. Japan's Hokkaido Island at the background

    Japanese Lawmaker Reveals What Will Help to Resolve Kurils Issue

    © Sputnik / Ekaterina Chesnokova
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    The trust-filled relations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will help resolve the issue of the contested islands claimed by both countries, collectively referred to as the Southern Kurils by Moscow and the Northern Territories by Tokyo, Japanese lawmaker Katsuhiko Yokomitsu said Thursday.

    "The Japanese people are most interested in the issue of the northern territories… We are wholeheartedly hoping for the resolution of this problem based on trust-filled relations between the leaders of the two countries, Mr. Abe and Mr. Putin. That is why I hope that this problem will be resolved and this will facilitate the establishment of friendly relations between the countries," Katsuhiko said at a meeting with a member of the Russian parliament's upper house Viktor Ozerov.

    READ MORE: First Visa-Free Japanese Delegation Arrives in Kurils

    The lawmaker stressed that it was important to strengthen trust and mutual understanding between the two neighboring states.

    Ozerov, in turn, noted the boosting of the inter-regional cooperation between Russia and Japan. According to the lawmaker, detailed plans for this type of collaboration are already taking shape and not just for the Russian Far East regions, which are geographically the closest to Japan.

    Following Putin and Abe's talks on the issue in late 2016, Tokyo and Moscow have made a step toward a resolution by agreeing to run joint economic projects on the islands.

    Tokyo asked for the return of the islands of Iturup, Habomai, Kunashir and Shikotan as a condition for the peace agreement at the end of the World War II. The Soviet Union in 1956 signed a joint declaration with Japan, agreeing to consider the return of the islands if a peace treaty was concluded. However, the issue has not been resolved to this day, as Tokyo maintains that it has a claim on the islands, while Moscow believes that they became part of the Soviet Union as a result of the World War II and Russia has unquestionable jurisdiction over them.

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    Tags:
    Vladimir Putin, Shinzo Abe, Japan, Russia, Kuril Islands
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