Asahi, Mainichi, Yomiuri, and Nikkei reported on the third round of talks between Senior Deputy Foreign Minister Mori and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Morgulov in Moscow on Thursday. The two officials reportedly discussed how to proceed with peace treaty talks between their nations. The papers quoted Morgulov as saying at the outset that discussions between Tokyo and Moscow have only just begun and that fundamental and serious differences exist between the two nations. However, Mori was quoted as telling reporters afterward that although the two nations still have a number of difficult issues to deal with, some progress was made in the talks. Mainichi wrote that it remains to be seen whether the two nations will be able to reach an agreement at an early date because Moscow is becoming increasingly cautious about the issue of the Northern Territories.
In a related development, NHK reported this morning that a Russian movie called “The Lost Island” that was filmed on Kunashiri in the Northern Territories was shown to the islanders last night before being screened nationwide. NHK speculated that the decision to allow the movie to be shot on Kunashiri and the preview of the film on the island might be part of the Russian government’s efforts to strengthen the islanders’ Russian identity.