Gorbachev Showed Willingness in 1988 to Resolve Isle Row with Japan


Tokyo, Dec. 25 (Jiji Press)--Then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev showed a willingness in 1988 to resolve a territorial dispute with Japan over four northwestern Pacific Islands, according to diplomatic records released by the Japanese Foreign Ministry on Wednesday.

The finding covered a July 1988 meeting between Gorbachev and then former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone in Moscow.

At the meeting, Nakasone said Japan and the Soviet Union should discuss their territorial issue on the basis of their 1956 joint declaration, which calls for the handover of the Habomai group of islets and Shikotan, two of the four islands controlled by Moscow, to Japan after concluding a World War II peace treaty.

"We don't expect an immediate return of the islands, but talks should be based on the document that restored relations," Nakasone said.

In reply, Gorbachev said the Soviet Union had made concessions in the joint declaration to normalize relations with Japan, offering to return the two islands, which was an opportunity for Tokyo.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press