Suga Vows to Advance Talks on Isles Disputed with Russia

Politics

Tokyo, Feb. 7 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Sunday expressed his resolve to advance negotiations with Russia on four northwestern Pacific islands at the center of a longstanding bilateral territorial dispute.

"My cabinet surely inherits what was discussed at a (Japan-Russia) summit in Singapore in 2018," Suga said in a video message sent to a national convention held in Tokyo for seeking the return of the Russian-held islands to Japan. "Based on the agreements reached between the two countries, we'll continue to steadily proceed with the negotiations."

"To make progress in the negotiations, it would be important for each and every individual in Japan to develop an interest in and gain a further understanding of this issue and for the government and citizens to work as one," the prime minister also said.

Holding phone talks in September last year, Suga and Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed an agreement reached at the 2018 bilateral summit to accelerate negotiations to strike a World War II peace treaty on the basis of the 1956 Japan-Soviet joint declaration, which stipulates the handover of the Habomai group of islets and Shikotan, two of the four islands seized by Soviet troops in the closing days of the war, to Japan.

As the two countries' positions on the issue remain wide apart, however, the territorial talks have been stalled since when Shinzo Abe was the prime minister of Japan. Suga succeeded Abe in September 2020.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press