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Kishida Vows to Conclude Peace Pact with Russia

Kishida Vows to Conclude Peace Pact with Russia

   Tokyo, Feb. 7 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Wednesday vowed to conclude a peace treaty with Russia after resolving a territorial row over four northwestern Pacific islands, called the Northern Territories in Japan.
   "Although Japan-Russia relations are in a difficult situation, we will stick to our policy of resolving the territorial issue and concluding a peace treaty," Kishida said at a government-sponsored rally in Tokyo campaigning for the return of the Russian-held islands to Japan, an event held to coincide with Northern Territories Day in Japan.
   The territorial row over the islands, seized from Japan by Soviet troops in the closing days of World War II, has prevented Tokyo and Moscow from formally ending wartime hostilities.
   Given the aging of former Japanese residents of the islands, Kishida said his government will now especially put a focus on the resumption of programs aimed at allowing them to visit family graves on the islands.
   The two countries are unlikely to resume talks anytime soon as Russia has strongly opposed Japan's sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin last month showed a willingness to make his first-ever visit to the islands.

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