Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been considering signing a peace treaty with Russia if it hands over two islands in a disputed chain off Japan’s northern tip, Kyodo news agency said.
Abe is now looking at the option of the transfer of just two islands – Habomai and Shikotan – to end the decades-long standoff, according to several government sources who spoke with Kyodo.
The news agency added that government officials regarded the handover of two other islands – Iturup and Kunashir – as “unrealistic.”
This comes days before the Japanese prime minister is expected to come to Moscow for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The peace deal is expected to be high on their agenda.
The row over four Southern Kuril islands stopped the Soviet Union from signing the post-WWII deal with Japan, which sees them as its occupied northern territory.
Although Lavrov has recently remarked Moscow would not yield 1cm territory to anyone, official Tokyo under US pressure keeps peddling a narrative of getting some of its islands back. Putin perhaps used undiplomatic language in another remark when he suggested that Japan is not a sovereign nation, therefore all of their narratives and ideas come from Washington. As an example Putin pointed the bizarre case of Japan’s Okinawa Governor passing a law with public’s support that would remove the US Base in the prefecture, however, the Americans simply ignored the law telling the Okinawa Governor Japan is indirectly governed by the US since 1945.