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Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a summit Tuesday where they both affirmed their commitment to signing a peace treaty over their decades-long territorial dispute over the Russian-controlled Kuril Islands.
Russia and Japan have not been able to sign a peace treaty since Russia seized the islands at the end of World War II, so the countries remain technically at war.
News - Conference - Abe - Japanese - Ministers
Speaking at a joint news conference, Abe said that the Japanese and Russian foreign ministers would meet in February to continue negotiations over the dispute. Both sides are aiming to reach a deal by the Group of 20 summit in Osaka in June.
A deal that leads to a peace treaty between the two countries would end the last technically active conflict of that war.
End - War - Forces - Kuril - Islands
At the end of the war, Soviet forces had seized the Kuril Islands, three main islands and a cluster of islets, expelling the thousands of Japanese living there and establishing their own military presence.
The sovereignty of the islands has been disputed ever since, souring relations between the two nations. Moscow has long argued that Japan renounced all claims when it signed its peace treaty with Allied forces. Tokyo, meanwhile, points to the fact that Russia never actually signed the treaty and argues that the islands were illegally captured and remain part of Japanese territory.
Proposals - Moscow - Handing - Islets
Previous proposals by Moscow have included handing over the islets nearest...
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