TOKYO, November 26. /TASS/. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga looks forward to meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President-Elect Joe Biden in the near future, lawmaker Muneo Suzuki told reporters following a meeting with Suga, according to the Kyodo news agency.
“I would like to carefully consider my schedule in order to hold these meetings as soon as possible,” Suzuki quoted the prime minister as saying. He added that in Suga’s view, 2021 would be an important year for Japan-Russia relations as October 2021 would mark the 65th anniversary of the 1956 Joint Declaration.
Suzuki has been engaged in contacts with Moscow since the 1990s and was considered to be Abe’s unofficial adviser on relations with Russia.
Since the mid-20th century, Russia and Japan have been holding consultations in order to clinch a peace treaty as a follow-up to World War II. The southern Kuril Islands issue remains the sticking point. In 1945, the whole archipelago was handed over to the Soviet Union. Tokyo laid claims to Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and a group of uninhabited islands referred to as Habomai in Japan. Moscow has stated many times that Russia’s sovereignty over the islands cannot be called into question.
In November 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a meeting in Singapore and agreed that Moscow and Tokyo would speed up peace treaty talks based on the 1956 Joint Declaration. The document ended the state of war and said that the Soviet government was ready to hand Shikotan Island and a group of small islands over to Japan on condition that Tokyo would take control of them once a peace treaty was signed.