Russian, Japanese foreign ministers discuss disputed islands
MOSCOW (AP) — The foreign Ministers of Russia and Japan are holding talks about disputed Pacific islands.
The Soviet Union took the four southernmost Kuril Islands during the final days of World War II. Japan asserts territorial rights to the islands, which it calls the Northern Territories, and the dispute has kept both countries from signing a peace treaty.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have agreed to resume discussions on a 1956 Soviet proposal to return two of the islands to Japan. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Japanese counterpart Taro Kono met Monday to pave way for Abe’s visit to Moscow later this month.
Signaling tough talks ahead, Moscow has recently bristled at Japanese statements about a possible deal, warning Tokyo against “artificially inciting the atmosphere.”