Japan and Russia will be persistently steering the course to a peace treaty, which should be finalized during the current generation’s lifetime, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Saturday after his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin.

“We together have again confirmed our determination to persistently move ahead to concluding the peace treaty. The issue of a peace treaty, which our countries have lacked for more than 70 years, is not easy to be solved,” he said.

“However, we want to finalize the deal under our generation. That is our key goal,” he vowed.

Speaking about bilateral cooperation, Abe called on Russia to enhance cooperation in the digital economy and labor productivity.

In conclusion, the Japanese prime minister said, he was “looking forward to meeting with President Putin again in Vladivostok” at the Eastern Economic Forum, which Abe has regularly attended.

Russia and Japan have been in talks to sign a peace treaty since the mid-20th century. The main stumbling block to achieving this is the ownership issue over the Southern Kuril Islands. After the end of World War II, the Kuril Islands were incorporated into the Soviet Union. However, the ownership of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan Islands and the Habomai Islands is being challenged by Japan. Russia’s Foreign Ministry has stated many times that Russia’s sovereignty over the islands is beyond doubt. In 1956, the Soviet Union and Japan signed a joint declaration on ceasing the state of war, but no peace treaty has been signed so far.

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