By Akiyoshi Komaki in Hangzhou
When asked about relations with Japan at his news conference held after the G20 Summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that “Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is a distinguished politician,” indicating his great appreciation for Japan’s proposals for economic cooperation.
Putin stressed that he and Abe are on a “first-name basis.” He said that the “eight-point proposal for economic cooperation” made by Abe in May “is very important not only in terms of economic issues, but also for the resolution of many political issues.” He indicated that promoting economic cooperation and deepening the relationship of trust will help create the conditions for resolving the issues relating to the conclusion of a peace treaty.
He also said that Japan’s cooperating with the Western countries in imposing sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis will not constitute an obstacle to bilateral talks.
Putin also mentioned the Japan-Soviet Joint Declaration of 1956, noting that, “After the results of World War II were finalized in an international document, the Soviet Union at that time indicated its willingness to return two islands to Japan” and that “it is of great significance that this declaration was ratified by the parliaments of both countries.” He hinted strongly at resolving the territorial dispute by returning two islands to Japan.