To set a new precedent in Russia-Japan relations and possibly discuss the long-standing peace treaty, Russia and Japan will hold strategic bilateral talks in Moscow on July 31. The two nations have been in a dispute with each other over the ownership of the South Kuril islands which has been the main hindrance to the peace treaty.
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As reported by TASS, Russia and Japan will hold a 2+2 dialogue involving the Japanese Foreign Minister and Defence Minister discussing bilateral relations with their Russian counterparts. Japanese foreign ministry confirmed the news of the foreign minister and the defence minister attending the 2+2 dialogue in Moscow.
Taro Kono, the Japanese foreign minister will hold talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov. On the other hand, the defence minister of Japan, Itsunori Onodera will have a dialogue with the Russian defence minister.
The two sides shall discuss the feasibility of signing the longstanding peace treaty and also international issues of mutual concern to both. The two sides during the 2+2 dialogue will also discuss measures to enhance economic and security ties.
It was only recently that the Japanese PM, Shinzo Abe reiterated Japan’s willingness to resolve territorial disputes with Russia. He stated at a recent public gathering that he is keen to have a mechanism of active and intense negotiations with Russia over solving border and territorial disputes.
In 2013 the first 2+2 dialogue between Japan and Russia was held but then during the Ukranian crisis, Japan joined anti-Russia sanctions and the negotiations between the two remained suspended until Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan in 2016.
The territorial dispute between the two has been over the claims of the South Kuril islands. The islands were incorporated with the Soviet Union after the second world war but Japan still asserts its claims over a part of the islands. Will this dialogue help Russia and Japan to get over their differences?