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Tokyo Has No Plans to Discuss Handing Over Two Kuril Islands to Japan

Sputnik News

07:52 02.09.2016

Tokyo has no plans to raise the issue of Russia handing over two of the four South Kuril Islands to Japan, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Friday, denying recent media reports.

TOKYO (Sputnik) – Earlier on Friday, Japanese media reported that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe intends to raise the issue of the transfer of two islands – Habomai and Shikotan – to Japan at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin later in the day in the Russian city of Vladivostok.

"There have been various reports. However still the basic position of the Japanese government is that we first need to solve the issue of ownership of the four islands, and then complete the peace treaty," Suga said at a press conference in Tokyo.

The two islands, along with Iturup and Kunashir, are currently under Russian administration but have long been claimed by Japan.

In an interview with the Bloomberg news agency on Thursday, Putin said he would discuss the dispute over the South Kuril Islands with Abe, adding that a compromise was possible provided there is a "high level of trust. Putin stressed that "we don't trade in territories," but added that Moscow "would very much like to find a solution to this problem with our Japanese friends."

Japan and Russia have never signed a permanent peace treaty after World War II due to a disagreement over four islands, which Russia calls the Southern Kurils and Japan the Northern Territories. The disputed islands, located in the Sea of Okhotsk, were claimed by Soviet forces at the end of the war.


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