Japan, Russia Were Very Close To Signing Peace Treaty In Fall 2018 - Abe

TOKYO (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 26th September, 2020) Japan and Russia were very close to signing a peace treaty in fall 2018, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the Nikkei newspaper in an interview published on Saturday.

"There was a feeling that we were approaching the talks aimed at signing the peace treaty," Abe said.

He expected to dismiss both chambers of the Japanese parliament to learn the will of the people.

Abe stressed that during the 2016 visit to Japan Russian President Vladimir Putin had an intention to find a solution to the years-long dispute. From the Japanese prime minister's point of view, the countries were especially close to signing the peace treaty in November 2018.

He added that the escalated tensions in relations between Russia and the United States over Crimea had prevented Moscow and Tokyo from signing the peace treaty.

The Russian-Japanese relations have long been complicated by the fact that the two nations never signed a permanent peace treaty after the end of World War II. The deal was never reached because of a disagreement over a group of four islands Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai that are claimed by both countries. They are collectively referred to as the Southern Kurils by Russia and the Northern Territories by Japan.

Since Russian President Putin's visit to Japan in December 2016, the relations between the two nations have been improving, with the two sides agreeing to develop joint projects on the disputed islands.