Tokyo [Japan] (ANI/Sputnik): The Japanese government intends to continue negotiations with Russia to resolve the territorial issue and conclude a peace treaty, as well as to comprehensively develop relations with Moscow, including the cooperation in the energy sector, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Monday.
"In order to meet the national interests, we intend to comprehensively develop relations between Japan and Russia, including the energy sector," Kishida said during a speech at a meeting of the lower house of parliament. The prime minister said further that Tokyo would continue "to hold talks with Russia, based on the already existing agreements, including from 2018, in order to resolve the territorial issue and sign a peace treaty."
Relations between Russia and Japan have long been complicated by the fact that they never signed a permanent peace treaty following World War II. The main stumbling block is their dispute over a group of four islands -- Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan, and Habomai - called the Kurils by Russia and the Northern Territories by Japan.
In 2018, Japan and Russia agreed to speed up negotiations on the peace treaty on the basis of the 1956 Japanese-Soviet Joint Declaration.