TOKYO (Reuters), SEPTEMBER 14, 2018 - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday repeated Japan’s stance that a row over islands seized by Russian troops in the final days of World War Two must be settled before a peace treaty can be signed to formally end hostilities between their countries.
Putin appeared to catch Abe off guard when he said at a regional forum in Vladivostok on Wednesday that the two countries should sign a peace treaty by the end of this year - without preconditions.
“We need to read the signals from various comments President Putin has made. It is true that he proposed to work properly on a peace treaty. Of course, Japan’s stance is to resolve the territorial dispute and then conclude a peace treaty,” Abe said during a televised debate with his rival for a Sept. 20 ruling party leadership election.
“I said so before and after the comment (from President Putin), and President Putin has made a response. But I cannot talk about it because we are in the middle of negotiations... What I can say is that I believe a summit meeting in November or December will be an important one,” Abe added.