Japan, Russia to discuss islands dispute

Tokyo, June 17 (IANS) Japan and Russia will hold a new meeting on June 22 in Tokyo to discuss their territorial dispute over the Kuril islands and normalisation of bilateral relations.

The meeting on the islands, which lie northeast of Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, will take place following Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in May where both heads of state agreed to adopt a “new approach” on the dispute, EFE news reported.

Government representative in charge of Japan-Russia relations Chikahito Harada and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov will participate in the new meeting.

“We believe that it will be a fruitful discussion that allows for progress,” Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said on Friday.

Japan’s objective is to achieve a greater rapprochement before the next meeting between Abe and Putin which is scheduled in September in Russia’s far eastern city of Vladivostok where the Japanese leader will attend the East Economic Forum.

Tokyo and Moscow have recently taken steps towards reconciliation despite some reluctance from Washington, who advocates Russia’s isolation in retaliation for its military intervention in Ukraine and Syria.

Japan and Russian maintain a territorial dispute over the Kuril islands, controlled by Moscow since Japan’s surrender in the Second World War in 1945, a conflict that has prevented the two countries from signing a peace treaty.



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