Support The Moscow Times!

Russia Says Major Disagreements Remain in Peace Talks with Japan

Sergei Lavrov / Russian Foreign Ministry

Russia still has significant disagreements with Japan, which stand in the way of clinching a peace deal to end a decades-old territorial row, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday.

Russia and Japan have been in dispute since World War II over islands captured by Soviet troops in the last days of the war. The islands are known as the Southern Kurils to Russia and the Northern Territories to Japan.

"I won't hide that we still have significant divergences. To start with the positions were diametrically opposed and we have said this more than once," Lavrov told reporters in Moscow after talks with Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono.

"But the political will of our leaders to fully normalize between Russia and Japan prompts us to activate this dialogue," he said.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is making a push for a treaty with Russia over the islands. He is due to hold peace talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin this month.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

As we approach the holiday season, please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world’s largest country.