Japan, Russia Kick Off Full-Fledged Islet Talks
Moscow, Jan. 14 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, started full-fledged negotiations in Moscow on Monday to resolve the issue of sovereignty over the four Russian-held islands off Japan's Hokkaido to conclude a bilateral peace treaty.
At the outset of the talks at the Russian Foreign Ministry, Kono expressed hope for intense discussions to push forward the negotiations based on the 1956 Japan-Soviet declaration as agreed on by the top leaders of the two countries.
The declaration called for the return of the Habomais and Shikotan--two of the so-called Northern Territories also including the huge islands of Etorofu and Kunashiri--to Japan and conclusion of a peace treaty to formally end World War II hostilities between the two countries.
Japan and Russia should create bilateral ties that can fully realize the two countries' big potential, Kono stressed.
Meanwhile, Lavrov reiterated Moscow's view that the then Soviet Union legally gained the islands as a result of the war, calling the islands a legacy of WWII.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]