Thursday, February 13, 2014

Abe wants to resolve territorial row with Russia

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he wants to resolve the long-running territorial dispute between Japan and Russia while he is in office.

The prime minister referred to the dispute over the 4 Russian-held islands off Hokkaido during a Lower House committee meeting on Thursday.

The Japanese government maintains that the Russian-controlled islands are an inherent part of Japan's territory. It says the islands were illegally occupied after World War Two.

Abe said his summit talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday were held in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

He said he thinks he was able to share with Putin an awareness of the need to end the abnormal situation in which no peace treaty has been signed between the 2 countries since World War Two ended 68 years ago.

Abe said it is crucial for leaders to share an understanding that they are the ones who will make final decisions on the territorial issue. He said he needs to build a relationship of trust with the Russian leader.

The prime minister added that it is important to continue negotiations at a good pace and he is determined to solve the problem before he leaves office.