Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that he is confident his country and Japan will be able to reach a compromise when it comes to the territorial dispute that has prevented the two from having formal diplomatic relations. At the same time, he also expressed his disappointment that Japan imposed sanctions against them in light of the situation with Crimea and Ukraine.
The two countries, who have not officially signed a peace treaty after World War II, were in the midst of fixing bilateral relations when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine, an action that earned the condemnation of the 7 countries in what was formerly known as the Group of Eight (now Group of 7). Economic sanctions were imposed by all 7 countries, and because of this, Japan also had to suspend negotiations over the Northern Territories, also known as Southern Kurils in Russia. Putin said it was surprising that Japan joined the sanctions and stopped the negotiations, but expressed readiness into resuming the talks. “…but I can’t quite grasp whether Japan is ready,” he added.
He emphasized however that he believes both Russia and Japan have a strong desire to settle this issue in order to move forward in other aspects of their bilateral ties. He said this will only be reached if they practice hikiwake, which is a judo term that means draw, or not winning or losing. “If we think about it and move forward, I believe that there is nothing impossible,” Putin stressed.
[ via Global Post ]
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