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Abe hosts Putin to try to solve Japan-Russia islands row

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By Euronews
Abe hosts Putin to try to solve Japan-Russia islands row

<p>Vladimir Putin has arrived in Japan for a summit aimed at seeking progress on a territorial row that’s soured relations between the two countries.</p> <p>The Russian president was met by Japan’s foreign minister Fumio Kishida, before talks began with Shinzo Abe at Nagato in the prime minister’s home constituency.</p> <p>The two leaders are likely to seek agreements on economic cooperation – although Tokyo has ruled out any accord that would undermine Western unity on sanctions against Moscow.</p> <p>The disputed islands in the western Pacific are known in Japan as the Northern Territories and in Russia as the Southern Kuriles. </p> <p>They were seized by Soviet forces at the end of World War II, forcing some 17,000 Japanese residents to flee. The row has blocked a peace treaty formally ending the conflict.</p> <p>Japan’s prime minister has pledged to resolve the dispute to build better ties with Russia and counter rising Chinese influence.</p> <p>But a deal carries risks for Putin who doesn’t want to damage his domestic image of being a staunch defender of Russian sovereignty.</p> <p>The islands also have strategic value for Moscow, ensuring naval access to the western Pacific.</p>