Japan and Russia will discuss a possible ending of an island dispute which has prevented them from signing an official treaty to end World War II.
The agreement was made during a visit paid by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the first such top-level talk between the two countries in the last 10 years.
In a joint statement, Abe and Putin said the lack of a treaty was “abnormal”. The dispute centres on four islands north of Japan’s Hokkaido island, the international press reports.
Japan calls the islands the Northern Territories, while Russia calls them the Southern Kurils. Russia owned the territories since Soviet troops seized them from Japan at the end of World War II.
No details were given regarding the two leaders’ agreement, but they said their target is to overcome “existing differences”.
“The talks on a peace treaty agreement in the last few years have been in a state of stagnation,” said Abe. “We managed to agree that we will renew these talks and we will speed up this process.”
“I consider this a great result of this meeting,” he said, adding that the two leaders had “established personal, trusting relations”.
“The agreement does not mean that we will solve everything tomorrow if the problem has not been solved for the past 67 years,” said Putin.
“But at least, we will continue work on this complex issue, but one that is so important for both sides,” he said.