Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday after talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin that he shared Putin’s desire to put an end to the situation of absence of the peace treaty between Japan and Russia.

“I agreed with President Putin to accelerate negotiations on a peace treaty based on the 1956 joint declaration between Japan and the Soviet Union… President Putin and I share a strong resolve that it will be us who put an end to the issue that has been left unresolved for more than 70 years after the war,” Abe said after his meeting with Putin in Singapore, as quoted by the Kyodo news agency.

In September, at the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok, Putin proposed to sign the peace treaty between Russia and Japan without any preconditions by the end of the year. Tokyo, however, maintained its position and claimed that it would sign the peace deal only after the territorial dispute between the two countries was settled.

Japan and Russia have never signed a permanent peace treaty after the end of World War II due to the territorial dispute over a group of four islands that both countries claim — Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai — referred to as the Southern Kurils by Russia and the Northern Territories by Japan.

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