Japan said that before any peace deal with Russia is signed, the south Kuril Islands dispute must first be settled. President Vladimir Putin earlier offered to sign the peace treaty “without any preconditions.”
Tokyo will continue to seek a peace settlement with Russia but only after the island dispute is resolved, the government’s spokesperson Yoshihide Suga told reporters on Wednesday, while declining to comment on Putin’s peace treaty proposal.
“I don’t want to comment on what President Putin said,” Suga said at a regular briefing in Tokyo. “However, our position that the Northern Territories issue is resolved before any peace treaty remains unchanged.”
The Russian president had earlier offered to sign the agreement by the end of the year and “without any preconditions.” He made the remarks while meeting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Eastern Economic Forum in Russia. Abe agreed that both nations should aspire to sign the peace treaty in the future, and that the leaders should meet more often to resolve the conflict.
Japan and Russia didn’t sign a formal peace treaty after World War II. Japan claims south Kuril Islands which have been Russian territory since 1945.