FOCUS: Japan Waiting to See Putin's Next Move after Peace Treaty Proposal
Tokyo, Sept. 19 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government is taking a wait-and-see attitude in the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin's surprise proposal last week that the two countries conclude a post-World War II peace treaty without any preconditions by the end of this year.
The government has told the Russian side through back channels that it cannot accept the proposal, which apparently contradicts the 1993 Tokyo declaration between the two countries, according to government sources.
In that bilateral statement, Japan and Russia confirmed that they would sign a peace treaty that formally ends their World War II hostilities after settling the issue of sovereignty over four Russian-held northwestern Pacific islands called the Northern Territories in Japan.
"There's no point concluding a peace treaty without demarcating the border line," a senior Foreign Ministry official said.
Tokyo plans to wait for Putin's next move while taking his latest proposal as an informal offer, the sources said, suggesting that officially criticizing the overture could affect the face-to-face relationship that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has built with the Russian leader, the sources said.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]