Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met on Monday for the first time in 10 years to revive talks on their longstanding territorial dispute.
The two leaders discussed the spat over four Pacific islands, which prevented the two countries signing a peace treaty at the end of World War Two.
At a press conference in the Kremlin, the Japanese prime minister said:
“This time President Putin and I confirmed our understanding that it’s an abnormal situation when 67 years have gone by after the end of the war between Japan and Russia and no peace agreement has been concluded.”
But the thorny issue of the islands must first be settled, which both Putin and Abe admitted would not be solved overnight.
The islands were seized by the Soviet Union after declaring war on Japan in 1945, just days before Japan surrendered.
China’s growing regional influence has made both countries wary and they are keen to bolster ties between Tokyo and Moscow.