Russia and Japan in talks over disputed Northern Territories

Russia and Japan in talks over disputed Northern Territories

Russia and Japan in talks over disputed Northern Territories

Written by Tharushan Fernando

16 Dec, 2016 | 11:15 am

Russian President,Vladimir Putin met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for almost 90 minutes.

The one-on-one meeting marks the start of Putin’s first official visit to the country in 11 years. Economic issues and security was at the helm of talks between the two leaders.

bn-rf806_1215jr_j_20161215060025The Japanese P.M said that they also discussed their countries’ 71-year dispute over the Kuril Islands, to Japan’s north. Abe said he presented letters to his counterpart from former islanders, in both Japanese and Russian.

“We also talked about the possibility of joint economic activities on the islands under a special system and issues related to the peace treaty,” he said

Putin said the summit talks would help improve bilateral ties between Russia and Japan while thanking he Japanese leader for hosting at the hot spring resort, saying there would be “a chance to relax.”

The Russian President will be staying in Japan for less than two days.

Northern Territories dispute: A remnant of a dark past 

map_kuril_iclandsPutin visit will focus on Russia and Japans dispute over the islands off Japan’s northern coast, called the Kuril Islands.Four of the islands, Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai, were occupied by Russia three days after the end of World War II, giving them complete control of the Kuril chain however Japan still considers those four islands part of its territory and has been a wall in the relationship between the two nations for the past 71 years.

Putin and Abe discussed free passage of islanders as well as potential “joint economic projects” to be developed on the islands.

Police in Tokyo prevented right-wing protesters with loudspeakers mounted into trucks from approaching the venue where the two leaders were to meet on Friday (December 16) and due to hold a bilateral summit to discuss territorial issues.

Abe and Putin are holding a second day of talks on Friday after after the Japanese P.M made little progress a day earlier to resolve a territorial row that has festered since World War Two.

Police blocked the roads with metal barriers and prevented protesters from approaching by foot as well, before the truck moved elsewhere.

It is a common sight to see Right-wing protest trucks roaming the streets of Tokyo, congregating near venues associated with Russia who they see as having stolen the islands at the end of World War Two.

Putin and Abe on Thursday (December 16) agreed to revisit security talks and start discussing economic cooperation on disputed islands that has kept the two nations from signing a peace treaty formally ending World War Two.

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