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Putin reportedly says Japan must withdraw from alliance with U.S.

NHK on Saturday cited a March 15 report in the Russian paper Kommersant saying that during a meeting with business leaders, President Putin said negotiations with Japan on concluding a peace treaty “have lost momentum.” He was quoted as saying: “Japan must first withdraw from its alliance with the U.S.,” otherwise Prime Minister Abe’s promise that there will be no U.S. military bases on the Northern Territories after the islands are returned will be “unrealistic.” Putin reportedly also mentioned that 99% of Russians living on the Northern Islands are opposed to the return of the islands and “it is not possible to ignore such public opinion.” He also reportedly said that while negotiations with Japan should not be discontinued, a “short rest” is needed. Jiji Press and TBS also carried similar reports on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

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