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At war since 1945: Japan’s new PM reveals he won’t sign peace treaty with Moscow until solution over Kurils dispute finally agreed

At war since 1945: Japan’s new PM reveals he won’t sign peace treaty with Moscow until solution over Kurils dispute finally agreed
Tokyo will not agree to sign a peace treaty with Moscow if the two capitals can’t resolve their territorial dispute over the Southern Kurils, a group of four islands currently under the jurisdiction of Russia but claimed by Japan.

That’s according to Fumio Kishida, the brand new prime minister of Japan. His cabinet took office on Monday.

“There will be no peace treaty with Russia without resolving the territorial issue. I will strive to develop the entire complex of Japanese-Russian relations, including the signing of a peace treaty,” Kishida said on Friday, according to the TASS news agency.

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Russia and Japan did not sign a peace treaty at the end of World War II. The dispute over the Southern Kurils is the main sticking point in reaching an agreement. Tokyo wants the Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai islands – all of which were part of Japan before World War Two.

In 1951, the Treaty of San Francisco signed between the Allies and Japan officially states that Tokyo must give up all claims to the Kurils. However, Japan refused to recognize Soviet sovereignty, which continues today with Russia.

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Kishida’s announcement that he seeks to develop a friendship with Moscow and solve the islands dispute comes a day after the Japanese PM called Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to the new leader, both sides stressed their willingness to negotiate a peace treaty. Kishida has also revealed that he wants a face-to-face meeting with the Russian president.

The Japanese head also pledged to strengthen his country’s defense capabilities, including a focus on coast guard capabilities, and spoke about cooperation with the US, North Korea, South Korea and China.

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