Russia, Japan Meet On WWII Dispute In Moscow
The foreign ministers of Russia and Japan met in Moscow on Monday pushing ahead with efforts to strike a peace deal and end a decades-old dispute over four strategic islands
Japan and Russia have never signed a treaty ending World War II. The USSR invaded the far-eastern Kuril chain in the final days of the war and Japan refuses to give up its claim to them although the United Nations formally recognises them as Russian territory.
In November, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to accelerate talks on a peace agreement which would build on a 1956 Japan-USSR declaration which restored diplomatic ties.
The joint declaration said that the USSR agreed to hand over two of the islands -- Habomai and Shikotan -- to Japan following a peace deal.
In remarks before the Monday meeting, Japan's Kono said the two countries must use the great potential for cooperation.
He said, in remarks translated into Russian, that they should "speed up (peace) negotiations, going beyond the boundaries of previous positions," without elaborating.
Ceding any islands to Japan is unlikely to go down well in Russia, where a wave of patriotic sentiment has been whipped up by the Kremlin since 2014, when Moscow annexed the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine.