Japan to Resolve Island Row With Russia

Japan to Resolve Island Row With RussiaJapan to Resolve Island Row With Russia

Japanese Prime minister Shinzo Abe said during the national gathering Saturday he would seek a swift resolution of a territorial argument with Russia over the return of the disputed islands.

“Former residents of the islands grow old, we will draw on the necessity to promptly resolve the issue of the Northern Territories,” Abe was quoted as saying by the Kyodo news agency.

The Japanese leader pledged to do his best to facilitate negotiations with the Russian president and resolve the dispute. The national meeting for the return of the Japan’s former territories is held annually on February 7.

“As I have agreed with (Russian President Vladimir) Putin, it is abnormal that Japan and Russia have not concluded a peace treaty,” Abe said in Tokyo.

“I am determined to continue working tenaciously on this issue... in full accordance with the government’s fundamental policy of resolving the issue... and concluding a peace treaty with Russia.”

Japan has raised claims on Habomai, Shikotan, Kunashiri and Etorofu islands. Tokyo received the four islands, known in Russia as Southern Kurils, back in 1855, under the Treaty of Shimoda.

Moscow says that after World War II the islands became part of Russia, and has refused to review this fact. The argument between the countries even impeded signing a Japanese-Russian peace treaty after World War II.

Russia has repeatedly offered to return Tokyo two minor islands, but Japan has claimed the entire territory. Currently, the dispute between the countries remains unresolved.