Moscow, Oct. 21 (Jiji Press)–Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday voiced his unwavering determination to aim for the conclusion of a peace treaty to formally end wartime hostilities between Japan and Russia, regardless of frequent changes of prime ministers in the Asian country.
The interest of Japanese and Russian citizens will not change, Putin said at a meeting of experts in the southern Russian city of Sochi when asked to comment on Tokyo-Moscow relations after Fumio Kishida succeeded Yoshihide Suga as Japan’s prime minister earlier this month.
The eyes of people in the two countries are on the ultimate resolution leading up to the conclusion of the bilateral peace treaty, the president said, adding that the Russian government will aim to achieve such a goal even if there are personnel changes in the Japanese political world.
Putin, however, has been adamant about his position to aim for the signing of the treaty without compromising on the two countries’ long-standing territorial dispute over four northwestern Pacific islands, controlled by Russia and claimed by Japan.
Tokyo and Moscow have been unable to conclude the treaty due to the row over the islands, called the Northern Territories in Japan, which were seized by the former Soviet Union from Japan at the end of the war.
Touching on his talks with Kishida over the phone on Oct. 7, Putin said that the new prime minister is a vastly experienced individual.
Saying that Kishida is close in terms of political standing to former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who had been actively engaged in diplomacy with Russia while in office, Putin voiced his hopes that the new prime minister will follow in Abe’s footsteps.