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Russia: 'Resolving issues with Japan is national priority' says Putin on Kuril Islands dispute03:22

Russia: 'Resolving issues with Japan is national priority' says Putin on Kuril Islands dispute

Russian Federation, Moscow
December 13, 2016 at 19:36 GMT +00:00 · Published

Russian President Vladimir Putin gave an interview for the Nippon Television Network Corporation and Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper in Moscow on Tuesday, during which he commented on Russian-Japan relations and the Kuril Islands dispute.

While Moscow insists on following the Soviet-Japanese Joint Declaration of 1956, which means handing over the Habomai and Shikotan Islands to Japan, Tokyo asks for two additional islands: Iturup and Kunashir. Putin stated "the 1956 agreement refers to two islands while you have just said that the Prime Minister is talking about four islands. Therefore, we have already gone outside the bounds of the 1956 agreement. This is quite a different situation and quite a different approach."

Putin said "I believe it is no secret that I like Japan very much: Japanese culture, sport, including judo, but it will not offend anyone if I say that I like Russia even more. Therefore, the Prime Minister and I will negotiate proceeding from our national interests: the interests of Russia and the interests of Japan. We should find a compromise."

The Russian leader revealed that he was asked by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a meeting in Lima, whether it was possible for Japanese residents to travel on a visa-free basis to the Kuril Islands, to which Putin replied that it was "quite possible".

"We are discussing this sincerely because we are interested in resolving all the problems of the past in our relations with Japan. Nothing should prevent us from moving forward. This is one of our national priorities. This is what we want, and it is in our interest. That said, I believe that fixing some deadline that is limited by my term in office or the Prime Minister's would be unprofessional because we should talk not about our terms in power but about the quality of potential agreements," concluded Putin.

The Soviet-Japanese Joint Declaration of 1956 was signed on October 19 and was meant to lead towards further negotiations on ratifying a peace treaty between the two countries.

Russia: 'Resolving issues with Japan is national priority' says Putin on Kuril Islands dispute03:22
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Description

Russian President Vladimir Putin gave an interview for the Nippon Television Network Corporation and Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper in Moscow on Tuesday, during which he commented on Russian-Japan relations and the Kuril Islands dispute.

While Moscow insists on following the Soviet-Japanese Joint Declaration of 1956, which means handing over the Habomai and Shikotan Islands to Japan, Tokyo asks for two additional islands: Iturup and Kunashir. Putin stated "the 1956 agreement refers to two islands while you have just said that the Prime Minister is talking about four islands. Therefore, we have already gone outside the bounds of the 1956 agreement. This is quite a different situation and quite a different approach."

Putin said "I believe it is no secret that I like Japan very much: Japanese culture, sport, including judo, but it will not offend anyone if I say that I like Russia even more. Therefore, the Prime Minister and I will negotiate proceeding from our national interests: the interests of Russia and the interests of Japan. We should find a compromise."

The Russian leader revealed that he was asked by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a meeting in Lima, whether it was possible for Japanese residents to travel on a visa-free basis to the Kuril Islands, to which Putin replied that it was "quite possible".

"We are discussing this sincerely because we are interested in resolving all the problems of the past in our relations with Japan. Nothing should prevent us from moving forward. This is one of our national priorities. This is what we want, and it is in our interest. That said, I believe that fixing some deadline that is limited by my term in office or the Prime Minister's would be unprofessional because we should talk not about our terms in power but about the quality of potential agreements," concluded Putin.

The Soviet-Japanese Joint Declaration of 1956 was signed on October 19 and was meant to lead towards further negotiations on ratifying a peace treaty between the two countries.

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