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Japan-Russia foreign ministerial fails to narrow gap on territorial issue

All national dailies reported on Saturday that Japan and Russia remained wide apart on the Northern Territories issue at a bilateral foreign ministerial on Friday. Foreign Minister Lavrov reportedly insisted that Japan should accept the results of World War II and rejected Japan’s position that the islands were occupied illegally by the Soviet Union after the war. However, Foreign Minister Kono and Lavrov agreed to step up discussions on joint economic activities on the islands, with a bureau-chief-level meeting scheduled for May 21 to discuss a framework for the movement of people between the two countries. They also agreed to hold a 2+2 meeting of foreign and defense ministers in Tokyo in late May.

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