In a blow to US its ally Japan to sign peace treaty with Russia, first after World War II

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In a blow to US its ally Japan to sign peace treaty with Russia, first after World War II

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe believes that the signing of a peace treaty with Russia will bring benefits for both countries, he said during a speech on the island of Hokkaido.

"The return of the northern territories [Japanese name for the southern Kuril Islands] is our heartfelt desire, and we are determined to resolve this issue in our generation. 

If we sign a peace treaty, we intend to create conditions under which Russia would be able to understand that this is a significant benefit for both countries," the Kyodo news agency quoted Abe as saying.

The Kuril Islands are the subject of a long-standing territorial dispute between Russia and Japan. The latter lays claims to Kunashir, Iturup, Shikotan islands and the Habomai group of islets. The dispute has prevented Moscow and Tokyo from signing a peace treaty after World War II.

Abe said during the Eastern Economic Forum in September that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin had agreed that a peace treaty between Russia and Japan should be signed by them.

At the same time, the Kremlin spokesman said later that no specific time limit had been set for concluding the treaty.