The Japanese prime minister has previously expressed regret that he did not have time to reach an agreement with Moscow during his tenure. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a telephone conversation confirmed their intention to hold talks on a peace treaty between the two countries, Kyodo news agency reported.
In turn, the Kremlin press service said in a statement about the phone conversation of politicians that Abe and Putin “stressed the importance of continuing efforts to strengthen good-neighborliness between Russia and Japan in the interests of the peoples of the two countries, security, and stability of the entire Asia-Pacific region.”
The Kremlin also said the conversation was related to Abe’s decision to step down.
The head of the Japanese government announced the decision to leave his post on August 28. He attributed this to the deterioration of his health. The politician has a chronic disease – ulcerative colitis.
On the day of his resignation, Abe said he regretted failing to conclude a peace treaty with Russia during his government’s tenure. “I’m leaving without achieving those goals,” he said.
Moscow and Tokyo have been consulting on a peace treaty following World War II since the mid-20th century. The issue of membership of the Kuril Islands iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan, and the Habomai group remains a stumbling block. In 1945 they were incorporated into the Soviet Union, and since then the Japanese side has challenged the ownership of these islands.
In 2018, Putin and Abe agreed to intensify negotiations based on the Soviet-Japanese declaration of October 19, 1956. It referred to the possible transfer of the islands of Habomai and Shikotan to Japan after the conclusion of the peace treaty.