05:54 GMT04 December 2020
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    TOKYO (Sputnik) - Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said at his policy speech to parliament on Monday that his government will seek to resolve the territorial dispute with Russia.

    Japan claims four islands in the Kuril Island chain, referring to them as northern territories.

    "Without postponing the problem of the northern territories to future generations, it is necessary to put an end to it. Through a sincere exchange of views at the highest level with Russia, we aim at the comprehensive development of Japanese-Russian relations, including the conclusion of a peace treaty," Suga said.

    The Kuril Islands dispute has been souring Moscow-Tokyo relations for decades and serves as the main stumbling block to signing a permanent WWII peace treaty. A group of four islands, namely Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai, is collectively referred to as the Southern Kurils by Russia and the Northern Territories by Japan.

    Russia insists that its sovereignty over the islands, which legally became a part of the USSR after WWII, is undisputed.

    In a separate development, the Japanese Prime Minister pledged to make his country carbon neutral by 2050.

    "I declare that our country will completely stop greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, in other words, sets a goal to create a carbon-neutral, carbon-free society in 2050," Suga said as he addressed the parliament on Monday.

    Under the previous government plan announced back in 2018, Japan was expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

    According to the prime minister, it is necessary to encourage active measures against global warming, restructuring of the country's industry, economy and society.

    In order to reach the goal of net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century, Japan will develop renewable energy sources, as well as nuclear energy, Suga added.

    Tags:
    Kuril Islands, Yoshihide Suga, dispute, Russia, Japan
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