After a sideline meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit this weekend, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Sunday that he wanted the two countries to finally put an end to their territorial dispute brought on from World War II. Putin said that Japan was Russia’s key partner in the region, and in order to further develop relations, they need to bring an end to all of their inherited problems from the past.
The announcement came from the Russian city of Vladivostok, where the APEC Summit was hosted. Both leaders agreed on Prime Minister Noda making a visit to Russia later this year, most likely in December, where they can continue their discussions in a calm, quiet atmosphere. Putin also stated that Japan and Russia would be working together on a new liquified natural gas project, as well as last week revealing that Japanese auto manufacturer Mazda would be the first to set up domestic manufacturing in the country’s Far East.
The territory in dispute lies north of the island Hokkaido, known as the Northern Territories in Japan, and the Kuril Islands in Russia. The issue over who rightfully owns the islands stems from the end of WWII, and has been such a shadow over Japanese-Russian relations, that the two countries never signed formal peace treaties. Japan states that the area is an integral part of its domain, however Russia argues that it rightfully won control as part of the war’s end.[via Ria Novosti]